Performable founder returns to discuss HubSpot acquisition

One of the first interviews that I did was with the guy you’re about to meet today and I heard the full interview before interviewing him today.

I’m so glad to have him back on here because I’ve watched his career just keep growing and growing since that interview. Last time we talked about how he built all the other businesses he built and at the end of the interview, we talked about this new company that he started which was called Performable.

Since then, he sold Performable to a company that went public is now worth over $1 billion. It’s a fantastic business and I want to ask him what happened that took Performable from an idea to a business that was eventually sold.

You can also check out his first interview here.

David Cancel

David Cancel

Performable

David Cancel is co-founder of Performable, which offers easy-to-use, do-it-yourself tools that helps web sites improve convert more visitors into customers.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy. It is, of course, home of the ambitious upstart. I say of course because I’ve been basically saying that for what, eight years, longer? One of the first interviews that I did was with the guy you’re about to meet today and I heard the full interview before interviewing him today and man, David, I was pretty good back then.

David: You were good.

Andrew: Yeah. I always had this feeling where I had to get better and better and better but there was a period there where I just got good and our interview was at that place.

David: I think you were in your groove.

Andrew: I think so. I’m so glad to have you back on here because I’ve been watching your career just keep growing and growing since that interview. The guy you guys are going to meet today is David Cancel. I had him on to talk about how he built all these other businesses and at the end of the interview, I talked about this new company that he started which was called Performable.

Since then, he sold Performable to a company that since that sale went public is now worth over $1 billion. It’s a fantastic business and he’s had this great career because of it and I want to ask him how he did it. What happened that took Performable from an idea to this business that was eventually sold and I want to talk to him about his current company.

So, first I’ll tell you Performable offered easy to use tools that help websites improve their conversion rates so they can turn more of their visitors into customers. And Drift, his new business is a software platform that helps customers know, grow and amaze their customers. We’ll talk about both of those, but let me give you a quick example because I think better through examples.

With Performable, you wanted to get as many people who came over to your site as possible to become customers, but maybe you didn’t have the HTML skills to actually create great landing pages or you didn’t know what to do, how to make it look right, how to express your point of view–I have a hard time with that sometimes in interviews. Performable made it really easy. They gave you these templates that were built by conversion experts. You put it on your site and you got more conversions.

With Drift, imagine you’ve got this customer, you work so hard to turn him into a customer but he’s only looking at this one piece of your business and ignoring the rest. Well, with Drift, you can actually message them and tell them about the other features they should paying attention to, or maybe they never even tried anything even though they’re paying you. With Drift you can message them and tell them about what they should be trying.

How’s that, David, for an explanation?

David: That’s perfect. We need to take you on the road.

Andrew: I’m up for doing it. I’d like to hang out with you more. You keep going places. I want to meet the people you meet. I should say first that this interview is sponsored by two great sponsors. The first is a company that will help you hire your best developer ever. It’s called Toptal. I’ll tell you more about them later. And the second is a company that will help you get your website hosted properly, even if it’s your first site or if you have a site and you want to get a better hosting company. I’ll tell you later why you should check out HostGator.

But first, David, good to see you here.

David: Thanks for having me.

Andrew: So, that first business, the idea came to you from a problem you noticed–with Performable, not the first one. What was the problem that you noticed with Performable?

David: So, the problem that we noticed was that it was super difficult for most lay people–most marketers, most people who didn’t have technical skills–to go out there and actually change their website and test their messaging and get out there and really optimize their conversion. So, we noticed that problem. We talked to more marketers. We were seeing this problem where most marketers don’t have development teams, even today, so they needed a way to actually affect change on their own without having to do a drug deal with their development team, ask for favors. So, we started on the journey of building Performable.

Andrew: How did you know that was a problem?

David: We did a ton of customer interviews. So, I had come out of the marketing software world. I had done several companies before that, one called Compete, which did kind of like audience measurement.

In that business, we started to see this problem where we would go into large businesses and that would be Google and major brands that you can think of, airlines and auto companies and we would say, “Hey, we have this great data for you. We noticed this thing. You need to change your website and respond to what your customers need.”

They would always say the same thing. The marketers would say, “I can’t do that. I can’t control the website. I work with an agency and maybe in six months they’ll come in and help us.” So, that is the way we saw the problem and we wanted to address it.

Andrew: How formal were your interviews?

David: Anyone that would talk to us. So, going to coffee shops, going to people that we had known before within the industry, just anyone who would talk to us who we thought would have this problem. The best interviews for me are always the ones that you do that involve observation.

What I mean by that is we would go into the offices and see people in their native setting. How did they work? What did their browser look like? What were the items on the desktop? What opened up? What was in their cubicle or their office? We would just start to observe that stuff to really understand how they worked and who they worked with because for us that was as much of the problem and the possible solution as watching them work with our software or our prototypes.

Andrew: I see. So, at that point you got them a prototype when you walked into their office and asked them to try it.

David: No. At that point, we were just talking about ideas.

Andrew: How did you get into someone’s office and have them show you their desktop and everything else that you just pointed out?

David: This is such an interesting phenomenon. For me, I would think would never respond to someone. I would never bring them in the office and I would never show them what I’m working on. The advantage we have in building software for businesses is if a business really has a problem, if you to the right person who has a problem, they’re willing to bring you into their office, they’re willing to show you because they’re saying, “Andrew, please help me. I need help.”

Andrew: I see.

David: This is the part that most entrepreneurs don’t get, that people will actually open up and show you everything. We would have customers who would do Skype calls just like this one and they would share their desktop with us. They would bring people from their office who would come in and say, “Hey, Andrew, what’s going on?” And tell us about their problems and we’d say, “Do you mind if we record this? Do you mind if we record your desktop?”

Andrew: So, what was the conversation that would start off with them getting you even on Skype? How would you get these people?

David: So, we would cold outreach to people.

Andrew: Okay.

David: We’d make an assumption. We’d say, “We think we’re going to help these kinds of businesses and within these businesses, who does the buyer look like? Often times we were wrong and it was a process of iteration. So, we would keep going down this discovery path–

Andrew: But it was just a hypothesis, “We think this is the kind of business.” Would you segment them at all or would you just pick one?

David: Later we would segment, but segment is like a rich person problem. First we just wanted to get anyone to talk to us and then later over time, once we started to see patterns we would start to segment.

Andrew: Who did you initially think you needed to talk to?

David: We thought we just needed to talk to marketing managers. We didn’t want to talk to the VP of marketing. We didn’t want to talk to directors. We wanted to talk to the actual person suffering from this problem.

Andrew: Okay. So, what would you say to them to get them on a call with you?

David: I would say, “Hey, we’re working on this type of software. We’ve noticed that people similar to you have this kind of problem. Do you have this kind of problem?” They would say, “Yes, no, oh yeah, I have that problem.” “Do you mind if I come in and talk to you some more about that? I’m not trying to sell anything to you. I just want to talk to you about some ideas. I’d love to learn from you.” So, it’s all about positioning as, “I want to learn from you. You’re the expert. I’m here to listen.”

One advantage that we have is in talking to marketing people and salespeople is that usually software developers aren’t begging to go talk to them. So, we’re kind of like an endangered species to them.

Andrew: I see. Because you’re a developer, you have the power to solve whatever problems they have, so they want to talk to you.

David: Exactly.

Andrew: So, it’s not just that they’re teaching you, but you potentially are going to rescue them with your magical development powers.

David: Exactly. What they’re thinking–we’ve heard this over and over–is that, “Wow, the developers within my own company, they don’t want to talk to me.”

Andrew: I see. You’re sending out in the emails your theory of what the problem is. If you’re wrong, I’m assuming they ignore you or tell you you’re wrong. And if you’re right, then you’ve hit the mark.

David: Exactly. So, they ignore us, we’ll tweet to them, we’ll email them and just really ask them, “Help us, if this works out we’ll try to help you.”

Andrew: Okay. And how many of these emails would you say you send out back at Performable?

David: Oh wow, hundreds.

Andrew: Hundreds?

David: Yes, definitely.

Andrew: By the way, you were incredibly successful back then. I remember how excited I was to get to talk to you because you’re the guy behind Compete, which was a huge site, still is around. You built all these other businesses. You still have to send out hundreds of emails in order to get somebody to respond.

David: I still do.

Andrew: You still do. Even right now at Drift?

David: It’s easier today. But I kind of believe this. I’ve done–this is my fifth company now and I believe every time we’re starting from scratch, you have to be willing to throw yourself back in and it’s hard to have that kind of humility and not have the ego to say like, “I’m Andrew. I’m whoever. These people should want to talk to me.” I want to start at the bottom and kind of work my way up.

Andrew: Why don’t you? Why can’t you say, “My name is David Cancel. I created this company that I sold to this other company and now I’ve got Drift. Will you chat with me about your problem?” Why not start off with that?

David: For me, I don’t know if I’m too humble or I don’t want to… I don’t ever want to be that person who rests on their past accomplishments. That’s kind of an internal thing to me. I just don’t ever want to be–I live in the present and I want to live on what I can do today and I feel like I have a lot to learn and I just learn a tiny bit and I always feel like a student.

Andrew: I see. By the way, I’m asking you all these questions because this is an important issue that we never get enough into the nitty-gritty of it and as long as you’re willing to go into it, I want to find out the details of it.

David: Let’s do it.

Andrew: you figure out who is going to be your target market, you figure out how you think they express their problem and you say, “I’m working on a software company that’s going to solve this problem. Can I have some time to talk to you about it?” If it really is the way they express their problem, they’ll email you back. If it’s not, they might respond with some adjustment or ignore you.

Either way, it’s all feedback. You eventually get on a call with them. I have calls with people where I’m trying to understand their problems but they’re not productive calls. How do you make it productive? Do you have a list of questions? Is there something else you do?

David: Yes. I have a list of questions but the answers to my questions aren’t necessarily what I’m looking for. I’m really looking to try to get an opportunity to observe them, so I want to, let’s say if it’s a Skype call, I want to go as quickly as possible. Sometimes it takes a long time for them to share how they work today. What do they do to solve these problems today?

Andrew: So, do you make a list of problems and then you have them show you?

David: I have a list of hypotheses, like that we want to test, like one is in the Performable case, creating landing pages on their own is a problem. It usually takes end number of steps for them to be able to do it and so I want to go see what it actually takes.

Andrew: I see. They tell you yes or no it’s not a problem. Would you start off by saying, “Is creating landing pages a problem for you?” They say, “No. I don’t have to bother with that.” And then you might say, “How are landing pages created?” And then they tell you, “Well, I have to send it over there. It’s tough for him because he takes a month to get it back to me.” Is that it?

David: I would start one level higher, which is how do you deal with this problem which is you’re trying to get more leads for your sales team. They’re complaining, so how do you deal with this problem. Landing pages are just one of those solutions and then I’ll try to navigate them towards landing pages. And then I’m trying to get them comfortable. So, they’ll start to gripe back and say, “Boy, I always ask Andrew for help but Andrew doesn’t have time for me. I asked Andrew for something two months ago but I’m still waiting for it.” They’re just venting and telling me about their problems. If you’re willing to listen, most people are willing to talk and tell you about those things.

Andrew: What if they don’t want to go back to landing pages? What if you imagine it’s landing pages and they keep wanting to go back to analytics? “I have no data. I have no data.” What do you do with that? Or they want to go back to advertising buys.

David: Yes. We still listen. So, we’re trying to learn. So, even though we’re trying to talk about landing pages–you hit the nail on the head here. With Performable, we started with landing pages. But by the end, what we were really selling to customers was marketing automation. We started with landing pages and went through to analytics and finally the real problem was around marketing automation and that was when we started to hockey stick and when HubSpot acquired us.

Andrew: What do you mean by marketing automation for you, for Performable?

David: Yeah, so at Performable, the problem that we saw was the data for leads was scattered all over many systems for marketers. So they would have Wufoo or they would have Mailchimp and they’d have data living in all of these places. And then they didn’t have a way for that data to come together. They didn’t have a single unified view of the lead and they didn’t have a way to trigger based on actions within the product or within the website.

They just had all these scatterings of data. We unified that first through landing pages. We started with landing pages and then, “Oh, they have reporting issues.” And then once they had reporting issues, then they had the right analytics, what they really wanted to do was trigger an action. So, it kind of took this journey to understand really what they wanted to do was trigger the action. Landing pages was one path into ultimately triggering an action.

Andrew: And David, at every stage are you doing the same thing, talking to customers, seeing their problem?

David: Yes.

Andrew: You are?

David: Absolutely.

Andrew: Is it still talking to customers or can you, at some point, look at what they’re doing on their site to see their problems?

David: It’s both, but it’s more talking to customers. We took this religion to HubSpot up to 15,000-16,000 customers, we were still doing this same religion. I think too many times us developers and us geeks want to rush to A/B testing, want to rush to looking at analytics because that can separate us. That means we don’t have to talk to people. We can just sit back here and look at an Excel spreadsheet or look at some tool. But at the end of the day, you have to go out and talk to customers and understand their problems. A lot of that does not come through in just testing.

Andrew: So, one of the problems with talking to customers is they’re so unpredictable, right? Software is really easy to guess to know what it’s going to do. So, do you have any questions that you know get you a good almost 100% predictable response or a good response 100% of the time?

David: I wish I did.

Andrew: You don’t. You’re just constantly fudging around. What I do in my interviews–I even noticed going back to 2010 will my first interview with you–I asked for examples because examples lead to stories, lead to specifics and get out of what you think of what is the real world into what you really do. Do you have things like that that you do?

David: Our framework is around problems. So, you’re asking about stories. I’m asking about problems and problems lead to stories and complexities and how they start to reveal how the company and how this person works. So, it’s kind of a discovery process of what are the problems they’re having? Could we solve those problems? A lot of times we may suggest, “You should use Toptal. You should use this other tool out there or other service,” that has nothing to do with what we’re doing. We’re just there to genuinely help these folks.

Andrew: Is there like an outline or something that gets you to the problems? Is there a set of questions? When I discover a question like, “Could you give an example of that?” And I notice that it works routinely, I put it into a Google Doc so that I have it, so that other people on the team have it. If I discover a question that causes problems all the time, like, “Tell me about why that company failed,” the word failure is poison for some of our guests, I just put that on a don’t talk list. Do you have anything like that that you know will get people to open up or get people to tell their problems?

David: For different companies we have different sets of questions because we’re going after a different audience and a different problem. So, yes, we develop questions over time. Those help us reveal the problems.

Andrew: And you write it down for yourself when it works for you?

David: Yes.

Andrew: But it wouldn’t do me any good to see your questions, would it?

David: No. There are some questions that are general, but most questions are very specific. Let’s say the opposite problem where someone was reaching out to you. They went to your website. They signed up and basically all you have is a landing page. You don’t have any description. You just have almost what the Drift website looks like and you have “request more info.” The first question you want to ask when you talk to someone there is, “What were you hoping that we could do for you? What were you hoping that I would show you today?”

Andrew: You’re talking about the Drift website right now which doesn’t have that much data on it. It’s still very sparse but it does have the place where I can get started by entering my email. One of the first things you want to know when someone enters their email is what do they want out of this.

David: Exactly. They went and spent the time, especially for people who, let’s say you have a landing page that has request a demo and it has no more information. They’re bothering to reach out to you. They’re bothering to spend some time with you and sit in on some demo. You may not address it, but the first question you want to ask them is, “What were you hoping that I could solve of you today?”

Andrew: All right. Let me do a sponsorship message. But the sponsor is Toptal. I’ve got an email from someone here who said, “Toptal saved my business,” but I can’t tell if he wants me to read his email or not. Why don’t I just say this–anyone out there who needs a developer and doesn’t just want a pair of hands, David, right? You can find a pair of hands a lot of places. You can go to all the freelancer websites and get them.

David: Totally.

Andrew: But if you want a person who can think through the problem and really understand what you’re trying to solve with software, you need a really good developer and it’s hard to find those. The place that I recommend that you check is Toptal. One of the things that I like about Toptal is–and David, you’ll like this process. Do you know them at all?

David: I’ve heard of them, but I need to check them out.

Andrew: Okay. I saw you smiling and I said, “Maybe he’s experienced this with them.” One of the first things that happens is they get on a phone call with you. They know this isn’t the kind of thing that you want to just shop for online. If you’re just looking for some guy who’s going to work for you for $7 an hour in the middle of nowhere, you don’t need a conversation. But if you want someone who’s really going to solve your problem, you want to have a conversation.

So, Toptal will get on a call with you and they’ll ask you, “What are you trying to do? What problem are you trying to solve with this software? How do you work as a team? What are some of the quirks that you guys have, like what software do you use? What platform are you building for? Are you looking for some–is this a really big problem? Is this something small? Is it a long-term thing, like a weeklong project or is it multi-week? Is it part-time, a few hours?” whatever it is. Then once they understand that, they introduce you to who they think is the best person, kind of like Yentl in the movie–I forgot what move that was in.

David: With Barbara Streisand.

Andrew: Right. They’re like your Yentl for the developer. They match you up. You have a conversation with the person. If they seem like a good fit based on everything you read about them and your conversation with them, you can hire them. They can often start within a day or two.

The reason that’s true is because Toptal has this network of developers that they’ve cultivated, that they’ve tested, that they’ve vetted, that they made sure was solid. 97% of the people who want to be a part of it get turned down. The top three are in their network, which is why they can make an introduction so fast.

If you’re happy, you can continue working with them. Many people work with them for years. If you want a small project, you can do it. If you’re unhappy, let me tell you what you do. Unhappy, before you even signup go to Toptal.com/Mixergy because when you go there, they’re going to give you a no-risk trial period of up to two weeks, which means if you’re not happy, you don’t have to pay. Not only that, they will still pay the developer out of their own pocket.

And if you go to Toptal.com/Mixergy, they will give you 80 free developer hours when you pay for 80. So, they’re giving us a great deal here at Mixergy. This apparently is working incredibly well for them because they keep re-upping their ad buys. If you haven’t checked them out and you’re out there, check out Toptal.com/Mixergy.

They’re going to get you a great developer and please, when you email me to tell you how happy you are, let me know whether I can say it or not. I’m happy keeping it a secret. I’m happy talking about it. But I don’t like this in between where I’m not sure if I’m going to get in trouble for mentioning your name. I’m talking about you, Robert.

All right. David, you then keep trying to see if you can take a look at their screen so you can see what they’re doing, then they often will invite you into their office. That’s how you figured out the first version should be landing pages. I think you told me you wanted it to be static because people were going to screw around with it, right?

David: Exactly. We went the opposite approach of most tools, which was don’t go WYSIWYG, like PowerPoint, if you give PowerPoint to most people, they make a crappy looking slide. We really constrained it and made it a form-driven interface, so they just had to enter, almost like Google AdWords, just entre a few fields and then all of a sudden these pages were created for them and were being tested for them.

Andrew: Was there any question about whether it would be landing pages or something else?

David: At that point, no.

Andrew: Was there any deep insight that you wouldn’t have had if not for talking to people in person?

David: Lots of them. If we didn’t talk to people in person, we would have never led down the path of going towards analytics and ultimately marketing automation. We would have stayed in landing pages. Then kind of like your example with–

Andrew: What about–I’m sorry, go ahead, kind of like my example with what?

David: With Toptal, if you want to solve a really complicated problem, you need to have those conversations. You just can’t rely on a form-driven interface like some of those other sites out there. You actually have to talk to people.

Andrew: You know what? Why talk to people and not survey? Why not send out 100 surveys–if you had a list, like Dharmesh Shah, who bought your company, he told me the first thing he did before he started HubSpot was create content as a way of bringing people in. If you have content or someone else has content, could they just send a survey out and learn the same kind of thing?

David: Some of the same things. And we did tons of surveys. So, I’m not opposed to the quantitative approach. My company Compete before did millions of surveys for other companies. So, I like surveys, but again, when you’re trying to discover something, you’re trying to figure out what are the problems and habits you’re trying to solve and those don’t come across in surveys. Most of the time, there are certain kinds of people who tend to answer surveys.

So, not everyone will answer them. And then for those people that answer it, they’re not going to go out of their way to bother to tell you about the mundane things like, “I deal with this guy over here. This guy is a jerk. It takes forever. They’re never going to write that stuff and those are the key things you’re trying to find in the problem.

Andrew: The jerk, like, “I have this huge tech department, but I hate to admit that there’s a guy who’s a jerk who’s the gatekeeper to it and that’s why I can’t get landing pages and that’s why our ads are going to these crummy looking pages.”

David: Exactly. I could just ask the simple question, “Do have a problem creating landing pages?” Yes/no. Maybe they add some context, but they’re never going to tell me why. They’re never going to say, “Because I have an internal problem.” They’re never going to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” They’re never going to say, “Because it’s not a priority.” They’re never going to tell you the things you need to hear.

Andrew: What about this, though, David? You started out wanting to create landing pages as a first product. You did create landing pages as a first product. Why have all those conversations? It didn’t seem like you changed the product from what you imagined it would be.

David: We changed a lot because in the beginning it was landing pages.

Andrew: I mean before that. The very first version after you had all those conversations with people where you said, “I have nothing to sell you, so don’t worry about me selling you. Just teach me.” They taught you. You were going to create landing pages before they taught you. You created landing pages afterward. Did it change? Was it a different kind of landing page because of those conversations?

David: Yes. The features within the landing pages were very different.

Andrew: What’s one that’s really important that wouldn’t have happened if not for that conversation?

David: One was the one that we talked about, which is form-driven, kind of prescriptive versus do anything. That was an insight that we learned when we were talking to people where it would come out that they were afraid to create these things on their own without a designer because they would mess it up. That’s a word that they would say a lot. “I’m afraid I would mess it up.”

Andrew: Why do you have those conversations? Could you hire it out?

David: I have those conversations, but everyone on the team has the conversations.

Andrew: At Drift, do you still have the conversations?

David: Everyone on the team, including me.

Andrew: Why you? You’re a head guy. I really feel like at some point, I’ve got to have a conversation with you where you’re sitting down with a drink somewhere on the beach because man, you work so hard. We talked the first interview about the tough times at Compete where you could have been destroyed and you succeeded, you built these other businesses.

Why are you not just saying, “I’m the CEO, bitch?” Isn’t that like Mark Zuckerberg’s business card from the early days? Why don’t you say, “Somebody else make these phone calls for me. Come back and give me the insight and then we can talk about the product.” Why does it have to be you? I’m saying it as a joke, but I feel like there’s a reason it’s you.

David: Yeah. Just like Zuckerberg in that example, he’s still in the grind. I’m still in the grind.

Andrew: And the grind doesn’t mean leading other people. It means making phone calls and talking to customers.

David: I don’t think you can lead other people until you’re actually in there doing it by yourself and leading by example, is what I believe in. It doesn’t mean that I’ll always do this. I won’t be doing this maybe six months from now or a year from now, but kind of in the early stages or two or three years from now, but early stages I need to be doing this.

Andrew: You want to find it.

David: I want to find it and I want to know what’s happening and I want to hear it first-hand. We don’t want to play telephone. Everyone needs to hear this first hand and it needs to seep in and osmosis needs to happen.

Andrew: You then started selling. Did you sell the first version to some of the first people who you talked to?

David: Yes. Absolutely. So, for all those kind of beta partners that helped us, we gave them kind of grandfathered rate to get them in and they all signed up and they were happy customers. Then we started to sell a freemium approach. On the website, you’d sign up and we had three price points which we made up–$29, $49, $99. Why those three numbers? Because I made them up.

And then we began to test those each month. What happened was that almost every month we stared to raise prices. The way that we raised prices was that we would eliminate the lowest tier and add another higher tier. We just kept doing that over and over and over again until the end when we had I think our highest tier was $5,000 a month.

Andrew: Why? Why do it that way?

David: Because of what we were learning from the market. So, what we learned early on was we had this set of customers that were happy and they were using us and we started to look at the pattern and say some of these are very small. So, it makes sense that they want to pay for this price. Then some of them were really big.

Then back to talking to customers and spending time in person and Skype, we started to hear some of the bigger customers say things like, “We use Performable for this and that, but it’s an experiment.” They started to say things almost like Performable was a toy, even though what we were doing for them was more powerful than the stuff they were paying like $50,000 for like Omniture or some of these other systems.

Then we started to dig into that and pull that thread and say, “Why do they think we’re a toy?” Then over time we’d learn, “Oh, because you only charge me $200 a month. It’s obviously a toy.” Signaling–price was a signal to them that it was a toy even though the capability was stronger than the stuff that they were used to.

Andrew: I see. Did you know that it had all the features that they were looking for?

David: We learned that over time because we were adding the features. So, we felt like we were dealing with this problem, but we thought our pricing was good and we didn’t know how much room we had and how much money we were actually leaving on the table.

Andrew: That’s such an interesting way to raise prices–cut out the lower price and slide everything down and increase the higher price.

David: Higher price.

Andrew: But the features stayed the same for the three groups?

David: Yes. We were adding features over time, but the features stayed the same. The thing that we did–and we did this also at HubSpot–was that we would always grandfather people and pricing. So, if you had signed up for that $29 plan, we were going to grandfather that forever, never going to take it away.

Andrew: That makes sense. The first people who you talked to, did you say that you were charging them?

David: Yes. We said that we were going to charge them.

Andrew: I remember you in the first interview saying, “We just needed revenue. We were really focused on revenue.” All these people helped you. They brought you into their office. They told you their secrets about who’s a jerk at their office. At the end of it, you charged them, not because you needed their $29.95 or was it? Why did you charge them?

David: Because we needed to understand if this was a real problem. One thing that we started to do later on in Performable was this thing that I call the dollar test. It came later on as we were experimenting with raising prices. Everyone has this problem where you build the service or you build a product and people are always coming to you and say, “Hey, Andrew, I love it, but to work in my company, we’re different and we need this feature or that feature. I really can’t use it until you add this feature.” So, we’ve all heard that.

So, we started to do something that I call the dollar test, where let’s say you were paying me $500 a month. I would say, “Not a problem, Andrew. We’re going to work on that. We’re going to have to charge you some more. I’m going to have to charge you $10 more a month,” another arbitrary price. The key here was the price I was picking was so low compared to what they were paying, so in this case $500 a month. I’d say it’s only going to cost $10 more.

In almost every single case, they would say, “I need to talk to my manager about that. Let me sleep on that, Andrew. It’s really important, but let me sleep on it I’ll get back to you.” And then we would follow up, follow up, follow up. I can tell you 98% of the time, they would never come back and say that feature they said they must have were they willing to pay $10.

Andrew: So, the price had to be low so that it wasn’t that they were turning down the price, it was that they were turning down paying as a concept for the feature.

David: Exactly. When something has no cost, of course you can just keep asking and asking and asking for things until you put a cost in there, even though it’s costing them nothing, the cost causes them to rethink and think about this, whether it’s a priority or not.

Andrew: You also told our producer that you guys would get on a call with everyone who signed up. Why was that so important?

David: Because we wanted to–one, we were supporting them. We wanted to see how they were supporting the product. But we were still… We always had this mode–going back to why I still do this–we have this mode within our companies that we’re always learning. It didn’t matter even later on at HubSpot, 15,000 customers, we were still getting on the phone. We were still talking to customers. We were still trying to figure out and learn from them. That process never ends. I think when that ends, the company ends.

Andrew: I remember when I interviewed you that I said it was landing pages and it was A/B testing and you said so much more. You said there isn’t necessarily a universal best page for someone to use. There’s a best page that’s possibly the best for people who come from Google and another one that’s better for people that come from Twitter and then a third one for people who come from Facebook.

What you want to do is systematically test all those entry points and figure out which one. That’s a feature you guys have that I still don’t see other companies at the $29 range for sure do that today. How important did that end up being?

David: For a certain type of customer, it was super important. One I’d say you have to have enough traffic to make that useful, which is the downside of testing. Even though we all want to do A/B testing, multivariate testing, you need a significant amount of traffic to actually make that work well if you want to get an answer in a short amount of time.

So, if that’s true, for those types of businesses that have lots of entry points and lots of places people were coming into, we saw that as being super beneficial, super impactful to their return on investment. But most companies at that $29 level did not have enough traffic for that kind of stuff. It really was the higher end customer.

Andrew: That was something that was customer driven? They asked you for it?

David: That feature was an insight that we had, mostly from our work at Compete.

Andrew: Okay. So, you knew this needed to be built in, you built it. Was it worth the effort?

David: It was actually a simple build and it was totally worth the effort. You see not people doing landing pages this way now, but you see things like Hello Bar or some of those bars that you see on blogs or Sumo.me or endless number of tools like this where you might see a banner that says, “Hey, welcome Mixergy users, thanks for coming into the site. Here’s a special coupon for you.” That’s basically a simplified version of what we had been building back then.

Andrew: Okay. It wasn’t that everything needed to come directly from customers. Some of it is your insight having talked to customers at Compete for so long.

David: Exactly.

Andrew: Compete was the analytics company that you ran before.

David: That we started in 2000 and got acquired in 2007.

Andrew: For $150 million.

David: $150 million.

Andrew: Did that make you a millionaire?

David: Yes.

Andrew: Did you at any point say, “I’m done?” Did you think that was it?

David: No. I joke with my wife even today. Sometimes I say, “I’m going to retire.” She says, “You will never retire.”

Andrew: Why?

David: Because she knows my personality and she says, “You will just keep going forever.”

Andrew: What do you love out of it?

David: For me, starting companies is all about one thing. I’m obsessed with learning. I’m obsessed with evolving. I’m obsessed with getting better. That started early in life with reading books and trying to get good at things and trying to get into weird niches and just want to learn.

Andrew: What’s a book that you read that influenced you when you were a kid?

David: So many. I’d say in my, let’s say, 18, 19, something like that, I read Sam Walton’s book called “Made in America.” It’s still my favorite business book to this day. It’s a book you can pick up on Amazon for $5 or $6. It’s a paperback.

Andrew: Maybe for $0.05 or $0.06. It’s such a good book.

David: It’s a great book. I’ve reread that book four times at least, most recently a couple months ago. This is a book written by one of the, if not the richest person of our time.

Andrew: Yeah. I remember a few years ago looking at all his kids, combining their net worth and it was higher than Bill Gates. This is a guy who literally–you see in the book–literally sold underwear for $0.05 or $0.10 would pull this underwear from one of his little stores to another little store and he became richer than Bill Gates, richer than Steve Jobs, at least the fortune became. He died before them. It’s a phenomenal story. Talk about going in and seeing your customers. He would have those in store reviews all the time.

David: Yeah. So, he’s my model. He’s my idol if you ask why I still do this because I have to something to learn. Why did Sam Walton run around interviewing people trying to learn from every little store that he would run into?

He said that all his great ideas he would steal from someone else and he would obsess about, “I’m in Ohio. I’m in this city. I’m in LA. I’m going to check out this store here on the corner. I’m going to look at the way they have shelves. I’m going to measure the aisles. I’m going to see how long it takes to ring out,” because he was obsessed with serving the customer and getting better and I have the same obsession.

Andrew: It literally is–I checked right now to see if my facts were right–it literally is available on Amazon for $0.01, the hardcover book. I still have it from when I was a kid. What’s another book that influenced you growing up?

David: There are so many books. I’m obsessed with reading. I’m trying to think of another great book that’s influenced me. After Sam Walton’s book I would spend a lot of time back then–this is kind of pre-internet–I would spend a lot of time reading magazines. I would read magazines like Entrepreneur Magazine, which you basically were nothing more than people who had started franchises.

Andrew: Yeah, and Biz Ops, lots of Biz Ops.

David: Yeah.

Andrew: I used to read those magazines as a kid and think, “I can make a fortune repairing people’s windshields because they’re redoing their whole windshield and there’s a tool that you could inject stuff into the windshield and it fixes the hole.”

David: I read the same thing. I was obsessed reading those things and trying to learn from those. Of course, I read Dale Carnegie’s book and all the classics and “How to Think and Grow Rich.” I keep re-reading those every few years because I think they just keep teaching you something different as your context changes, as you grow older and you have more experiences, you start to learn different things from even those books that you had read several times in the past.

Andrew: Your parents also influenced you, you told our producer. How?

David: So, I have the typical entrepreneur story where I’m the son of two immigrants. My mom came from Ecuador, immigrated here from Ecuador and my dad from Puerto Rico. So, like most entrepreneur stories, I grew up in a house where both my parents worked on their own, which sounds glamorous but really meant they worked seven days a week, but they were always there for everything, every school event, everything that I needed in life.

So, I kind of look at them. They’re the ultimate context to me of people who sacrificed their life to give me and my siblings a better life. No matter how hard it gets in starting a company and working insane hours like we all do, I look back and I think wow, I still haven’t worked as hard as parents did in a given day or given week, which is true to this day.

Andrew: It is hard in a world where people say that Americans are working on the weekends to remember that the immigrant Americans were working weekends and nights.

David: Absolutely.

Andrew: But that also creates an atmosphere where you feel like you have to keep working to the point of burnout. Do you ever get to that place?

David: I haven’t, luckily. I never saw my parents get there. Even though they worked for themselves and they didn’t make much money, they both worked on crafts that they cared about. My mom was a seamstress and she created dresses and gowns for people. She actually loved what she did even though she worked an insane number of hours. For me, I’ve been lucky in the stuff I do building companies and software for our customers that I love every minute of it. I think Warren Buffett says, “I wake every morning and I tap dance to work.” That is true to this day.

Andrew: It just hit me that you’re in Boston, which means it’s almost 8:00 p.m. where you are. It’s the end of the day. You’re not at the office, are you?

David: No. I came home to film this thing.

Andrew: What’s so exciting about this?

David: Because I’m here learning from you?

Andrew: I’m asking you questions though.

David: In the asking of me questions, I’m learning from you. The type of questions you’re asking me and what we’re learning here, I feel like I’m learning.

Andrew: I would feel like, “I can’t believe it.” A lot of people would think, “I’m not 22 anymore. I’m not starting out. I don’t need the extra bit of attention. I’ll go buy a Facebook ad and get whatever extra hits to Drift that Andrew would get me.” But that’s not you. You’re thinking, “I’m going to learn something from this conversation.”

David: Exactly. We spoke years ago and I felt like I learned from that conversation. I looked back at it. I feel when you’re asking me questions, even though you’re asking, I’m learning about them in the way I’m thinking about them, the way I’m answering you. So, I’m just trying to get better.

Andrew: That’s one of the most flattering things I’ve heard from interviewees, that at the end they say, “You really force me to think about what I did to do this thing.”

All right. Second sponsor is a company called HostGator. They give you hosting for any website you want. WordPress is one of their featured platforms, but frankly anything you can host on HostGator. Let me ask you this, David, to bring you into this spot for HostGator–if you had to start over right now, nothing but a hosting package and an idea, what idea would you host on that hosting package to get yourself started?

David: I would fire up WordPress and I would start a blog and I would start talking about the problem I’m trying to solve.

Andrew: Is there a problem that we can think about just to see how you’d play this out? How about this–you seem to really be into audio, right? I saw you have two great earphones. Your website has not been updated but I found a couple lists of your music online in prepping for this interview.

David: Oh, nice.

Andrew: Is there a problem around music you have that you’d want to talk about?

David: Music would be a great thing to talk about, creating a podcast would be something to talk about, try to learn.

Andrew: You’re trying to learn how to do a podcast, so you’d start writing about the problems you experienced?

David: Yeah. And how I’m going about solving the problem, what tools I’m using, what microphones I’m using, what headphones I’m using and just trying to put those things out there and see if I can get feedback from people who know more than I do about this.

Andrew: And then how would that lead into a business. If you’re blogging about your problems, some that you’ve resolved and you talk about how you resolve them, others that you’re still stumped by, how would that help you?

David: It always helps. I talk about this within Drift a lot, especially with our marketing team, which is I totally believe in this kind of one to one approach, that you’re building fans and you’re building an audience and you’re building customers one at a time. It begins to snowball and leverage and builds over time but you have to attack it one to one. We think about this even from recruiting.

So, back to the HostGator example, I’m creating a website, I’m talking with people, I’m building a community and from each of those people I’m learning. But with each of those people, I am genuinely trying to start a relationship and build a relationship and who knows when that will help me. For me, if I look back at all my companies and look back in patterns, every time I’ve invested in relationships, they have come back to pay off.

Andrew: Fair to say that you then might be contacted by some people who have a problem that then you could create software to solve or a system to solve or a book to solve?

David: Totally.

Andrew: I see. That’s what you’re going for.

David: I’m just trying to talk about my problems, but I’m also trying to find the problems, the big problems that are out there.

Andrew: I see. All right. HostGator.com/Mixergy–go write about your problems. Go write about anything, frankly. HostGator gives you incredible prices as it is. But if you go to HostGator.com/Mixergy, they’re going to give you 30% off and of course they have a 45-day money back guarantee. They have a phone number that you can contact if the site is down. They will help migrate you if you hate your hosting company and admire how much these guys will let you call them and be there for you. All you have to do is go to HostGator.com/Mixergy.

One of the things you told our producer that you wanted to do was bring in an inside salesperson. That was a milestone for you. Why was that such an important thing?

David: So, we were selling Performable online. So, you’d sign up to your credit card just like any other kind of freemium software that you can use. One thing that we were wondering and we were doing lots of quantitative stuff. We were doing surveys. We were doing in-person stuff and then we were looking at our funnel and trying to optimize our funnel.

One thing we were wondering was is there a way to accelerate the learnings and the conversations that we were having? So, we decided one day just to kind of hire this salesperson, try to hire a salesperson, the right type of salesperson, who would have 25, 50 conversations a day. Worst case, even if this person could not sell a thing, we will have learned for some period of time, 25 to 50 extra learnings every single day of people that hadn’t come to our website because she was going out and approaching them cold.

So, worst case we would have learned a lot and best case, it would have worked. If it did work, then we could measure her results versus what we were bringing in from the website and try to understand those two models. So, we really approached it like an experiment.

Andrew: So, worst case, you learned something, best case, you figure out that it costs you less to hire salespeople than to buy ads. You start hiring a team of people.

David: Exactly. And best case, maybe it means that we can be–and this is what happened–we can be charging more. We can be moving up market. We could understand that there’s a niche within the market that we weren’t seeing. In this example, on the freemium side, were just waiting for inbound traffic to come in and naturally convert and then become customers for us to be able to learn from those customers.

Andrew: And she did bring in more customers.

David: She did. We ended up going down that approach of bringing in more inside salespeople. Before we got acquired, the total team was in the low 20s and we had 4 or so salespeople, including her, who were doing inside sales.

Andrew: I’ve got a note here about something I didn’t know how to bring up, but I think it’s important. You look like such a confident person. I guess largely because you have such a good headshot that you’ve used for years and social media.

David: Bald with a beard.

Andrew: Yeah, but in a suave way. I picture that you have a good cigar and scotch collection when I see that photo. But you told our producer that you had this personal anxiety, that that was one of the biggest challenges, anxiety about how to do deal with money, strategy, hiring, product. Can you talk about that?

David: I still have personal anxiety every day. I think that’s part of start a company.

Andrew: What did you have anxiety about today?

David: At this phase of the business it’s always the same thing–are we moving fast enough? Are we moving too fast? Do we have enough people? Do we have too many people? It’s all the common questions that you have. Are we missing something? Is there something right in front of our face that we should be seeing?

Andrew: How is that different from just analyzing your situation? It doesn’t seem like anxiety, but there’s something more that I’m not getting at with my questions. What is there that separates that from just standard analytics of your business?

David: Because we have this desire to want to do something that is meaningful, something that is so we have the–the bigger the opportunity that you think is there, the more anxiety that you place upon yourself about second guessing yourself about things you could be doing, things you could be optimizing, things you’re missing.

Andrew: Kind of like the example of walking on a plank that’s on the floor and you feel okay, but when you pick it up a couple hundred feet, its’ the same plank, same space, but you feel more anxious walking over it because you could crew up.

David: Yeah. I like that example.

Andrew: When you figure screw up, is it worry about losing people’s money, worry about losing face at all?

David: No, not worry about losing face or people’s money. It’s more about missing the opportunity and not doing the best thing for the team that you have. So, the team that you’ve brought on, you created a company, you brought on a team and they’ve all come here because of Andrew, right? Before there’s a product, they want to work with Andrew because they’ve seen your stuff. So, you want to make sure you’re doing the best thing possible for hat team.

Andrew: I see. And they bought in to your vision and you actually said to the producer that you had to fire someone who you hired and brought in with this whole vision of where the world was going to go, how this engineer was going to fit in there and then you had to do something.

David: Absolutely. So, many times where things have not worked out and you’ve had to let someone go–a little different in our environment today, in the world we live in today because an engineer especially can get a job in about ten seconds. But if you go back all the way in pre-history back to when I started compete, we had lay off people or had to let them go, that was an environment from 2002-2004 where you didn’t know if you could get a job quickly. In some cases, people couldn’t get a job for a year.

Andrew: How do you live with yourself when you’re sending someone into that environment but you have to make the decision for your company?

David: It’s tough. That’s what gives you anxiety, some sleepless nights, but at the end of the day, you have to do the best thing for the team. You can’t let an individual or set of individuals take down the team. I think about this today and I’ve thought about this at Drift and HubSpot and all these companies. I think a lot of companies kind of espouse cultural values and they want this kind of company. I think a lot of that has to do with hiring, which is what people focus on. But as much or more of it has to do with firing.

So, if you have a set of values or a type of company that you’re trying to build and you’re not willing to fire people based on the values you said were important for the company, then everyone knows those are bullshit and don’t really matter and don’t mean anything. You have to be willing to live by whatever values you’ve set for your company.

Andrew: So, let’s look at this new business. What’s the problem that led you to Drift?

David: The problem that we address at Drift is what happens to someone after they become a customer. So, this is a problem we saw even at HubSpot, at Performable and all of the companies that I’ve been involved with as an advisor, investor, entrepreneur where we spend so much of our energy trying to get a customer, trying to get someone to buy what it is that we’re selling them and we use sales software, marketing software, marketing services and salespeople and leads and Facebook ads and that and this.

Andrew: I know that feeling.

David: You do all this stuff and then they become a customer and then you forget about them because you’re off to go find the next customer and the next customer and the next customer. That’s been true forever. But what’s happened recently is that especially with subscription businesses, whether they’re subscription ecommerce businesses, software businesses–as a matter of fact, we see almost every business and every offline/online trying to move to this subscription or recurring model. In that case, most of your revenue is spread out over the lifetime of a customer.

So, really making a customer happy, really keeping them and getting them engaged is super critical for those businesses and we think that’s a fundamental thing that’s changed, that when we go in and talk to companies, we ask them very simple questions–how much of your revenue this year is coming from new customers, new people? They say 50%, 60%. It’s usually somewhere in there.

So, we say, “Okay. Out of the base, out of the customers that you have today, you have to get 40 to 50% of your revenue this year either by keeping them or by keeping them and upgrading them to sell them more things over time. What’s your plan for the new customers? Lots of plans. What’s your plan for real customers? No plan. So, that’s a problem that we’re trying to solve.

Andrew: So, how do you know what the first things should be to build for that? You could build anything. You could build everything from sending them gifts to postcard business to phone call to phone bank–how do you know what to do?

David: We looked at all the different places that we could start. We looked at the different groups within the company that we could start, support or account management or sales or what have you and then we started to whittle and test all of those. And then we got to the point where we say, “Why don’t we start at the beginning?”

And the beginning for most products or services is, “How do we get someone using the product or service? How do we onboard them? How do we get them to use the right set of features? If they use one feature, how do we get them to use the next feature. Let’s start at the beginning of that journey and then over time we can build products that address all the other points.

Andrew: How do you know if it’s using features that’s the answer? I feel like I hear that a lot, that if someone buys, you have to make sure they’re using it or else they’re going to cancel. Sometimes the fact that I don’t use it means it’s okay.

David: Totally. So, it depends on the type of business. So, this is why you have to talk to businesses. But for let’s say that example of someone becomes a customer. You at least have to get them setup with the software if it’s a software business.

At least they have to set it up. They have to login the first time and set it up. That they’ll have to, whether they have to come back each day, it might not be true. We have businesses today, most of their customers interact with them because they get an email that’s sent to them. So, they never have to login to the product.

Andrew: Right. I’m thinking about things like Baremetrics sends me email. I don’t need to log in to the product.

David: Exactly.

Andrew: But Clicky.com, I’m happy not logging in. If I login, I start to feel like I have to screw around with my site traffic too much. I just need them there just in case. Or Backupify–I hate the Backupify emails me. I signed up for it just because Dharmesh Shah was an investor and I liked the idea. I’m still a paid subscriber. But it gives me anxiety that they email me every day. It makes me want to cancel. All I want to know is it’s covered. I’m okay. How can you tell that using the app is the best way to get customer to be happy and continue to subscribe?

David: The company, our customers, they have to know that about their business.

Andrew: Going in?

David: Yes. They have to understand–

Andrew: How did you know that there were enough companies that had that world view?

David: We went out and interviewed tons of companies.

Andrew: And they knew they needed their people to keep using the app?

David: They needed to get them using the app in the first place and they needed to make sure that when something new was released that was something that Andrew should care about, that Andrew should at least know that is there.

Andrew: So, I’m looking at one of the screenshots on your very sparse page. It’s a message from the site owner or someone at the company on the right side of the company just introducing a new reporting or something, right? How did you know that that actually impacts lifetime value?

Just one more thing to setup this question–one of the problems I’ve had with lifetime value of a customer is that in my interviews, everyone says, “You just need to know your lifetime value. You make a change and then you see how it impacts things.” But you don’t know it sometimes for two to three months. That means that it’s insanely difficult to figure out if this new feature that you added is actually impacting lifetime value of a customer and getting them to stay longer. So, how do you know what’s actually going to impact it?

David: It takes years. You have to approach it from multiple angles. So, in our case, in that scenario there, you may use Drift to send out an announcement, but just as many customers are using Drift to take the pulse of their customers by, let’s say, sending out something like an NPS survey and saying like, “How happy are you with Drift? How likely are you to recommend it?”

So, at two ends we’re trying to get a baseline of their happiness. We’re also trying to drive usage. In a lot of cases, we’re also maybe asking them over time–you’re not getting this all at once–but you might be asking them over time about just general feedback. That’s where Andrew might say, “Hey, Backupify, I don’t like getting your emails. I don’t like logging into your site. I just want you to be there in the background.”

Andrew: I like this thing that you guys use to collect email addresses on the site too. Why did you sell Performable?

David: That’s a complicated question. I’d say it felt right. Is that why we sold it? So, we sold Performable to HubSpot. We did that about 18 months from when we had started the company. We didn’t think we were going to sell the company at that stage.

We had one investor and our investor didn’t want us to sell the company. They wanted us to keep going. We had plenty of money and they wanted to put more money in the company. But at Performable, we knew we wanted to solve this big problem around how do you get an anonymous person to visit your site to ultimately become a lead so they can become a customer.

We had known about HubSpot because they’re also in Boston. I had known personally Dharmesh, who’s one of the cofounders and Brian, who’s one of the cofounders, and most of the board and management team. So, we were kind of like friends in the same industry. They had a big vision for wanting to build a pillar company within Boston that was very similar to our aspirations for what we wanted to do.

Most important, we felt like from a culture standpoint, that we were aligned in the type of company that we wanted to build. So, it wasn’t simple decision. It took me a little while to think about it, but in the end, I trusted my gut and I said, “Let’s do this. I think if we merge the companies together, we can get to our goal faster and we can create a meaningful company.”

Andrew: I think in our first interview, you told me that you sold because your cofounder needed to sell because that’s the way he worked and you thought about it for a long time afterwards and it might have been a mistake. Did you feel the same thing about HubSpot?

David: That it was a mistake? No, not at all.

Andrew: Because HubSpot grew so much?

David: Yeah, they did. We did. It was great from all aspects, not because of the growth or because of the money. I think because we got to build something meaningful and something that is lasting and something that is that pillar company within Boston. I think that’s why I’m happy about that decision.

Andrew: is this article that I see from 2012 about the sale that you guys sold for $20 million?

David: Yeah, $20-some odd million, but yeah.

Andrew: And you still were okay going to work the next day?

David: Absolutely. There were some tough times, I won’t lie. Our mission coming into HubSpot was to rebuild the entire platform, the entire product, that is. Then we had to rebuild the entire engineering product design team as well.

Andrew: Of Performable?

David: Of HubSpot.

Andrew: Of HubSpot? You redid it, your team?

David: Yes.

Andrew: I didn’t realize that.

David: Yeah. When we were acquired at HubSpot, I became chief product officer, which means that I ran all of product, all of engineering and all of everything that has to do with a product–design and blah, blah, blah. So, my team when I left was approaching right before we went public, approaching close to 200 people. We had to rebuild and sustain all of HubSpot.

Andrew: Before you got there, the rumors I used to hear was the HubSpot was a not great product with a killer marketing team and great salespeople. People would talk about going in and seeing these salespeople in action and then afterwards it was more talk about the product and then less so about the salespeople.

David: Interesting. We heard the same things. We knew that HubSpot was kind of a legendary marketing and sales machine. The first day that I got there, that was actually the case. It was nothing I had ever seen in my career. The services and support were pretty close as well. But the one lagging area was the product and engineering side. That’s where we started off to build. I’m super proud of what we built there and our team is still there running that part of the organization.

Andrew: All right. The new site is Drift, for anyone who wants to go check it out. Who’s the ideal customer for Drift?

David: Right now our customers are mostly SaaS businesses. So, SaaS businesses that have hundreds, if not thousands of customers. Why hundreds to thousands? It’s because the business is gotten to the point that they can no longer keep all this stuff in their head. It’ not just one person who can kind of understand where every customer is in their lifecycle. So, it’s a team effort and that’s when Drift can really help.

Andrew: They’ll help them segment their customers, help them message them at the right time.

David: Yeah, and help them have one to one conversations with them. So, we think about it it’s one, which is segmentation and your customer database. Two is campaigns, which is like one to many. So, you’re sending messages out to and interacting with segments of people and then one to one, which is like I may be having a conversation with just you, Andrew, and we capture all of that and put that in one place.

Andrew: As you’re talking, I’m also searching through the site to see what else is on there. I see the Slack group that you guys have. That’s for customers, right?

David: Yeah. The Slack group is open to anyone. So, any product marketer–our customer is typically a product or growth marketer within a company. So, we have this product marketer Slack channel, which has hundreds of people at this point.

Andrew: I thought you were fishing out for the domain. I can give it out, if you want.

David: Oh, that would be great.

Andrew: Go.Drift.com/Slack to join that group. I see you’ve got an article here. I don’t know how I missed this before the interview, “Secrets to Creating a Customer-Driven Product Machine.” I see that I can probably add this to my podcast player on my phone and I will. I always felt that you should be talking more publicly. Think about the topic you just covered right now.

I feel the way that you go about product creation is something we all could learn from, but you don’t write that much, you don’t talk on stage much, I don’t see you at conferences. I get why you wouldn’t, but I always felt like you should be doing more of that.

David: I started this new podcast. I only have three episodes so far. I’m here trying to learn from the master, the sensei and it’s called “Seeking Wisdom” and back to your question about why I keep doing this, that’s why. I’m seeking wisdom.

Andrew: This customer-driven product machine, is that part of the podcast?

David: Yeah. That’s our third episode.

Andrew: All right. So, I’m going to my podcast player. I’m going to go to “Seeking Wisdom.” You know what I’ve been doing is using the built in podcast app it’s so iffy. But it actually worked. I’m subscribed right now.

David: Look at that. That’s awesome.

Andrew: Nice design on it too.

David: I’m going to take a screen grab of that. that’s going to be the homepage.

Andrew: Let’s do it for everyone else. They should see it. You guys really should subscribe to this because David’s really a brilliant guy. I’m honored to have you on here. I would never have found out about you if not for an introduction, otherwise you would have just been one of those people who’s building stuff–

David: Off in a corner?

Andrew: I don’t know, off in something. Cool. All right. Thank you so much for doing this interview. Thank you all for being a part of Mixergy. Remember, my two sponsors are if you need to hire a developer, that sponsor is Toptal.com/Mixergy. If you need to start your website, go to HostGator.com/Mixergy. Get it started. Tell me about it. I want to celebrate with you.

Finally, while you’re in the iTunes Store or whatever it is that you’re using to listen to podcast, sign up to David’s podcast, Seeking Wisdom, and signup to Mixergy. Seeking Wisdom–I’m looking forward to it. Thanks, David.

David: Awesome. Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: Cool. Bye, everyone.

David: Cheers.


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