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. Joining me is a woman who has heard my voice around the house. Her mom was a long-time listener, and now her mom is listening to her daughter here on Mixergy.
I’ve said this for a long time, Nadia, that my goal with Mixergy is to do interviews for an audience of people who are building their companies with the idea that eventually they will come back on here and do interviews themselves. Called it the circle of Mixergy years ago.
I never thought that maybe, like, there’d be passive listening where you might be listening while your mom is hitting play on this and absorbing some of this. I’m curious about why your mom was listening. I’m curious about what you picked up from it. But mostly, I’m here to understand how you built up your company, Perksy.
Nadia Masri has come up with this company that allows businesses to ask questions of their audience, of their market, of their potential customers to understand them better. And when I hear this, I think, “Why do they need Perksy? Why do they need Nadia? Why can’t they just do this on their own?” And also, other companies have done this.
I’ve interviewed other companies that have done this. So how does she do this for her company, for her clients? Why do companies even need Perksy to do this? And then, finally, how does she compete with the fact that there are other people that are doing this already?
All right, we’re going to find that and so much more thanks to two phenomenal companies who are sponsoring me. The first is a company, Nadia, most people are going to hear this, they’re never going to want to sign up. And then, once they do, they’re going to . . . their minds will be blown. It’s a platform to help you focus. It’s called Brain.fm. I’ll tell you about them. You’ve got good earphones. You’re going to love Brain.fm in those earphones. I’ll tell you how they help you focus and get more productive. And the second sponsor is a company that will host your website right. Everyone understands what they do and can buy in quickly. It’s called HostGator. But I’ll talk about those later. First, I’m here to talk about Nadia. Good to see you here.
Nadia: Thanks so much for having me, Andrew.
Andrew: Why was your mom listening? What was she trying to do?
Nadia: Honestly, I’ve never asked her. But if I had to guess, I would say my mom’s a voracious learner. She reads as much as she can. She spends so much time researching. I feel like it’s one of her awesome traits. I think I inherited it. I love research as well. But you know, it’s funny, so I started my first business when I was 17.
And at the time that I remember my mom was listening to Mixergy, I was on my third business. And I feel like my mom just loves listening to things on my behalf. She is constantly sending me articles. She would come in and be like, “Nadia, do the Kolbe Test. It’s going to help you identify your management skills and figure out how you can exist professionally in the workplace.”
All these things. She signed me up for executive coaching, so I spent a year doing executive coaching on the side. That’s just what my mom’s all about personal development.
Andrew: And this is because she saw in you something. She’s not necessarily looking to be an entrepreneur, but she said, “I see in this girl, who at seven or eight years old . . . ” Talk about the yard sale that you did at seven or eight years old.
Nadia: Yeah. So the one with my grandma, yeah. So this yard sale, I discovered this story, I guess I remembered it recently while talking to my mom. When I was like seven or eight, I decided to have a yard sale. And I decided to do this because my grandmother lived across the street from a park called Dufferin Park in Toronto.
And at this park, they had a day where all of, you know, folks from the neighborhood can come together. They put all their stuff out and they had yard sales. And this is the first time I’d ever seen this. I thought it was amazing. You could just walk through this park and get access to all these toys, all these little trinkets and things that people owned and pay 50 cents or 10 cents at the time and get this entirely new object.
I thought it was phenomenal. And so I thought to myself, “I really want to do that.” So a couple of days later, I was staying at my grandma’s house and I went out into the yard. I laid a bunch of stuff out that I’d found inside my grandmother’s house and just started selling it, just having a yard sale. And at one point, my grandma comes out, because she realizes, like, there’s a crowd in her front yard, “What’s going on?”
And she discovers that I’m just selling her belongings. And it’s like, no, and she’s, you know, Ukrainian. So she’s like, “No, no, no, not for sale. No, go, go. Shoo.” And I was laughing about this, laughing over the story with my mom. But I guess that was the first sign of me really being an entrepreneur.
Andrew: And she picked up on it and she supported you because that’s what she is. That’s what she’s about.
Nadia: Yeah. My mom . . .
Andrew: Am I reading too much into a single incident? You tell me.
Nadia: You know what? I think, I don’t know if that’s the incident that sort of led her to support my entrepreneurial journey, but I think she’s always been supportive of people doing their own thing and doing what they’re most passionate about. And it’s kind of like my dad said this at one point when someone asked how he felt about the fact that his daughter was a founder.
So my dad, I invited my dad to a founders dinner in San Francisco when I was living there, which seems like an odd thing to do, but my dad’s awesome so it worked out. And so one of the folks was like, you know, “How do you feel about your daughter being a founder?”
And he kind of, like, looked at them, “What do you mean how do I feel? Like, my daughter is doing what she’s passionate about? She’s doing something that she loves and she’s putting everything into it. I mean, what else can I say? Like I’m incredibly proud of her.” And I think my parents both share in that sentiment.
I think, you know, I didn’t notice it until later. I think it took a while for me to realize how my parents are supporting because support comes in many different forms. That also means that when your parents are very supportive, they can also be very hard on you.
You know, there are times where, you know, they pushed me in a way that made me felt like they weren’t being supportive but really they were challenging me to ask myself questions about what I was doing. And I think ensure that, I think they just wanted to make sure that I was making the right decisions for myself and for my future.
And there’s always going to be a push and pull between parents and kids. But my relationship with my parents is very, very strong. And I think, ultimately, when they saw how happy I was and when they saw that, like, I am so passionate about what I do and I love solving problems in the way that I’m solving them, I think that’s when it really started to shine there.
Andrew: Do you really think entrepreneurs solve problems? Like, that’s the mission?
Nadia: I don’t know that that’s the mission. I can’t answer that question for everyone. I can only answer that question for myself. I think it’s hard to understand the motivations of others. And I know for me . . .
Andrew: What I mean is, you said, solve problems. I’m wondering is it just, like, a thing that we say? Is it clichéd? Or is there more meaning to it?
Nadia: I actually genuinely love solving problems. And I mean, like, across the board. Like I just . . .
Andrew: What do you mean? Like what? Where’s an example of where you solved a problem?
Nadia: Like, I love games, I love riddles. I’m one of those people who’s like, “Tell me a riddle.” Like, I love riddles. It might take me some time to get it. I can’t guarantee that I’m going to be as [inaudible 00:07:04].
Andrew: But you got to just puzzle it through until you figure it out.
Nadia: Yeah. You just, if I don’t have something to work through . . . If, I always say to folks, it’s like kind of my thing, “May you always have a problem to solve?” Because I just genuinely liked the concept of, like, sitting down with something that’s very difficult. Like, we did it in a team meeting earlier today. We have this problem in the company, you know, just as one does and we’re trying to solve it.
And I loved sitting down and thinking about all the different ways that you could address one problem. I think that’s what I like most. It’s not that there’s one solution, it’s that there are many solutions and that the decisions that you make are so important in addressing that problem or addressing whatever’s in front of you.
Andrew: How did you get into Harvard?
Nadia: So I’m going to tell you a really interesting story behind it. I actually found a backdoor into Harvard. I did it in a nontraditional way. So I actually started by taking courses at the Extension School. When after I exited my third company, I was like, you know, I just want to, I want to learn some more. I love learning, love solving problems.
So I was like, “I just want to learn some more.” So I took some courses and then someone from the Extension School’s academic advising department reached out to me.
Andrew: What is the Extension School? I’m on their website right now. It’s extension.harvard.edu. It’s where I can just go and take a class in anything that I’m interested in? Just pay for the class, go and take it.
Nadia: Yes. And then you can actually also do full-time degree programs. So there are different types of [inaudible 00:08:36] you can do exclusively online, which are, I think they’re like associates and then there are bachelor’s degrees, which has requirements. And to me, as someone who has historically, I mean, like, I think my education is like an abstract work of art.
Everyone interprets it differently. I would say that the way that I look at education is I just want to learn and I wanted to craft something of my own.
Andrew: So, but you’re saying, I’m on their site. I clicked around and then I see a register now button. I don’t have to go through the application process. I just register and I . . .
Nadia: Not just to take a course. To just take a course, anyone can take a course. Anyone who’s listening right now, you can go to the website and take a course in anything.
Andrew: And so that’s at Harvard.
Andrew: And be a Harvard student. That’s kind of interesting.
Nadia: So I’m not sure fully on that. You don’t get a student card unless you’re accepted into the degree program. So you can take a course through the Harvard Extension School, but I don’t think you can get an and a student card unless . . .
Andrew: So then what’s different from what you did? What’s different between that and what you did?
Nadia: I had to apply. So I started off by taking courses.
Andrew: Just like I just described.
Nadia: Yep. Just like you just described.
Andrew: Got it. You just said, “Look, anyone can go and sign up for this. Some people go and do like a learning annex class or whatever. I’m going to sign up and take Harvard class. I’m going to learn, I’m going to be better.” And then you said, “Now I want to apply since I’m in here.” And did it help you that you were taking an extension class?
Nadia: So they actually have, like, a process through there. So you have to take a certain number of courses, I think it’s just three, in the Extension School. And you have to achieve a certain grade. I think it’s over 3.4 or 3.6 GPA. And then you can, and then you’re eligible to apply. You apply through the Extension School. You transfer in your grades.
So they look at your . . . You have to be a transfer student in order to apply. So over the age of 23. So I think, you know, how it was positioned to me is it’s for many entrepreneurs, folks that are running their business, folks who are doing something else, like, you know, they are actors or, you know, directors and now they’re going back to school, they want to do something else.
And so you can transfer your credits. So I did that. So they evaluate based on certain sets of criteria. Another one is you have to write an entrance essay and a placement exam for them to basically place you . . .
Andrew: So you still have to go through the application process, but it gave you a leg up that you were already in their program. Got it. Okay.
Andrew: And you were . . .
Nadia: But you know it is very different though than, you know, going to Harvard college or going to HBS, going to Harvard Law School. I would say that the benefit, what I was really attracted to, because at the time, I think I was considering, I’m like, you know, “I’ve exited my third business. Like, maybe it’s time for me to go back to school.”
But I think I demanded more from my education than just going and starting off as an undergraduate again. Because I was 23 back when I was applying. I’m like, “I already have three companies under my belt. I want to craft my own degree and figure out what I’m going to do next.”
I was also trying to get it done as quickly as possible. I was trying to kind of move into the JD/MBA career path. So, you know, just get the undergraduate degree as quickly as possible and then go apply for, so if you’re a junior, you also have to apply for JD/MBA.
Andrew: We’ll get into what happened there because you didn’t complete. But what are these businesses? You’ve mentioned them a couple of times. I looked at your LinkedIn profile. I saw founder of Birdcage Media Group. Owner of . . .
Nadia: You got to start below that. College Pro Painters.
Andrew: What was it? What was that?
Nadia: The first one? College Pro Painters.
Andrew: College Pro. This is 2009 when you created it?
Nadia: Yes. Yeah, it would have been 2008 actually, but yeah.
Andrew: 2008. So you were going out and painting what?
Nadia: Actual houses. The house that [crosstalk 00:12:12].
Andrew: Houses. You [crosstalk 00:12:13] work to paint houses. You painted it, and then what’d you do? Get other students to come in with you?
Nadia: Yep. So the cool thing about College Pro Painters is I discovered the opportunity. I feel like I wasn’t like learning how to run a business in school and I really wanted to learn how to do that. And so I discovered this opportunity where you could basically buy a franchise and they train you.
So leading up to the summer, so you run the business over the summer, and then you have to find a buyer at the end of the summer. So it’s almost like a pseudo M&A process to, like, teach students kind of like the [inaudible 00:12:40].
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Nadia: Yeah. And so it’s a great opportunity. And I thought what was really cool was, you know, they trained you on these weekend sessions and then when school was out, you know, end of May, after exams, literally on, like, everything from payroll to paying your taxes. How to hire folks, how to create a marketing plan, how to do postcode marketing, which is zip code marketing.
Andrew: So they teach you all this stuff.
Nadia: They teach you all of this stuff.
Andrew: By the way, Cameron Herold was, I think, like, the CEO of the company or the creator of the company. I interviewed him about it. He told me about this. I had no idea it was that deep that they were teaching you, that they were training you that much.
Nadia: Oh my God. Deep, Andrew. Andrew, deep.
Nadia: Like, it was . . . Also, maybe someone at his level might not think that it’s deep, but when you’re 17 years old going on 18 and you’re learning about, like, just how to hire people and you’ve never been taught how to do that and you’ve never hired a soul in your life, that’s deep.
I mean, like, today, I would consider some of the other things that I do maybe be a bit deeper, a little more immersive. But at that skill level and at that age, it was quite a bit.
Andrew: Wow. I had no idea. Okay, so you did that, then you had to sell it. That was the first. What are the other two businesses?
Nadia: So the second one. I mean, I was bit by the bug after that, Andrew, like, I booked $70,000 worth of work that summer, more money than I’d ever seen.
Andrew: From the painting business?
Andrew: And then how much of that do you get to keep?
Nadia: I don’t want to answer that.
Andrew: But why are we talking about more than 60%?
Nadia: A bit more.
Andrew: Wow. Considering how, like, I thought because it was so labor heavy, that you’d get to keep just peanuts. No. Okay. So that’s significant. Okay.
Nadia: It depends how much you’re painting also. Depends how much you’re painting.
Andrew: So you did a lot of the manual work yourself. You weren’t hiring it out. Got it.
Nadia: Yes. Also, let me just point out that my painting skills are just, like, forever awesome.
Andrew: Because you learn . . .
Nadia: Whenever moms are moving, they’re just like, “Can you help me paint?” I’m like, “You know what? I will.” I love painting. Yes, I’m an excellent painter. Like, flex on them all the time. I’m like, “Look at this,” when I’m cutting lines, just throwing out the door. I don’t even need to use tape.
Andrew: Wow. Wow. Literally.
Nadia: Yeah. So and then after that, I was just bit by the bug. I went into my second year of college and was like, “Man, that was so fun.” And at the time, I had a fashion blog. I’m not going to tell you what it is because it was super lame and the name is totally embarrassing.
Andrew: What was it? Come on, tell us. Be open.
Nadia: I refuse. I refuse.
Andrew: You really refuse?
Nadia: Ah, fine, Andrew. Just because you’re prodding me so much, I will tell you. But I just want to let you know that you’re very lucky right now. Like, this is like, you are like the only one, you know?
Andrew: I’ve got my fingers ready to type it up on Internet Archive. Yeah. What is it?
Nadia: Oh God, I’m here in front of a keyboard. Just . . . So The Fashion Visionboard Girl. So I was really into vision boards because my mom . . .
Andrew: What’s wrong with this? I was really expecting something way, I don’t know, silly. Okay, thefashionvisionboardgirl com, right?
Nadia: It’s kind of cheesy. I mean, when you’ve got a great name like Perksy, I mean, gosh. Like, of all the things. I mean, you’ve got Leandra Medine and Man Repeller. That is like a way cooler name.
Andrew: Man Repeller?
Nadia: Yeah, it’s a way core fashion blog name.
Andrew: Okay. All right. So you did that. That was . . . How much of a business was this thing?
Nadia: So that wasn’t a business yet, but that’s kind of what started it. I was really passionate about that. I love to write and I just, I loved fashion, fashion and style. I mean, I’ve got my Fortnite t-shirt, and you can’t see it, but I’ve got great jeans. I’ve got shiny sneakers. I’ve got my . . . I just, I love style.
Andrew: So that was you on Instagram? I saw someone, I couldn’t tell if it was you or not. I said, “There’s no way. Like, she’s running a company, she’s not Instagramming like that.” I guess that was you then. Okay.
Nadia: The last post was definitely like three months ago.
Andrew: It’s gone. I just assumed it wasn’t you, it was someone else who kind of looked like you and then I just exed out of that tab. Okay. So continue, you were telling me about the business and what before I interrupted you.
Nadia: Yeah. So I was really passionate about it. I think I’ve always been fascinated by people. So why they do the things they do? What drives the behavior? And I’ve always found clothing very interesting. My dad is Middle Eastern and my mom’s Eastern European and my parents speak Spanish at home. So very diverse household.
And I just, like, what I’ve learned from seeing different cultures is, you know, the clothing that they wear, especially the traditional clothing, it’s just so interesting and very reflective of the regions where they’re from. Like in Ukraine, you can tell where someone’s from based on, like, the traditional attire that they might be wearing.
Like if they’re from the mountains, if they’re from the city. I thought that was very interesting. And so, I would write about the people behind, like, the clothing collections or like the photographers behind the scenes. So I thought that was the most interesting because, like, if you think about work product, you know, whether it’s a technology company or, you know, music or film.
It’s not the work product itself that’s so unknown, it’s the people that create that work product and all the people that contribute to it. And I think that’s what’s the most interesting. So I covered that. And then, you know, I was getting invited to New York Fashion Week. I was one of the youngest fashion bloggers from Canada to be invited in New York Fashion Week. It was really exciting. It was 2009.
I thought it was very awesome. Got a few interviews. I guess, the first real excitement I’ve had from, you know, coming from Toronto and then being in the big city. And you know, folks suggested, they’re like, you know, “You should try and launch a magazine under this.” So I did. And actually, I was encouraged by my business prof. Shout out to Professor Leanne Haggerty from Wilfrid Laurier University if she ever hears this.
Don’t have her contact. But if she ever hears this. You just said, you know, like, “The halls of this establishment are always going to be here. Like, education will always be here. You can come back at any time.” She’s like, “You know, I’m not encouraging it and make one decision over the other, but you know, opportunities come and go, they’re more fleeting.”
And I really thought about that and I was like, “I want to go pursue this opportunity.” And so I just, like, packed my bags and moved to New York, slept on a friend’s couch in Brooklyn, and started building a media company. I think it’s more accurate to call it a magazine. Media company is kind of a flashy way to describe what Birdcage did. We did put on a lot of events. We produced, like, content, ended up doing some digital stuff as well. So maybe content company makes more sense.
But I would say that was more, it was more a project that, like, was working to become a business. I think that if I were doing it today, I would definitely do it really differently. But I learn best by doing. And we had over 50 contributors. We had interviews with Mark Jacobs. So one of the things I did was I hired a bunch of models to be reporters because they could get backstage and talk to designers after the show.
So it was a very big hustle mentality there. We had great content actually. Someone told me recently, they’re like, “Do you still have the content? Because it’s timeless, right?” It wasn’t attached to a particular season. It was like interviews with, like, Stephen Jones who’s princess Diana’s hat milliner. He designed all the hats for the couture runways. You get a coffee table book. So I just love my . . .
But you know, that business ultimately, it didn’t work. There were technical issues like data loss because our external plugged in hard drive didn’t work. We’d lose content. A lot of things like that. Also, the iPad came out at a time where we were hoping to launch and that changed a lot of things in terms of how advertisers thought about putting their advertising dollars, especially experimental budgets into magazines.
Especially print versus digital versus, like, you know, especially with the iPad. So that changed a lot. And being 19 years old . . . .
Andrew: Wait, this was a print magazine?
Andrew: Oh, got it. And so, yeah, you were really bucking the trend.
Nadia: Yup. And then the iPad came, like, three months before we were hoping to launch. And I mean, there’s so much that goes into that. Like, creating a magazine, like, there’s so much you just didn’t understand at that age. Like, thinking about distribution and the things that I really didn’t know, but it was very, very passionate about it.
And like, what I [inaudible 00:20:35] the most was how to manage others, how to build a team, how to build hype. I think that’s what really led to the next project. Someone took notice of it and was, like, you know, “I know Birdcage didn’t work out but you left a lot of hype. Like, a lot of people went to your events and, you know, there are models all over town . . . ”
Andrew: How did you get the hype? What’s one thing that worked for you for getting hype?
Nadia: I just told the story as loud as I could to anyone who would listen and I just . . .
Andrew: What’s the story that got people that interested?
Nadia: You know, Andrew, I wouldn’t be able to recount it word for word. I think it was just telling them what I was working on. I think I only do things I’m very passionate about. And when I speak, I think I do speak with a lot of passion. I think it does shine through.
And just telling people, like, what we were up to and, you know, who we were planning on interviewing and what we wanted it to be all about. And the fact that we wanted to focus on people and stories and, like, the human element behind art, fashion, culture, music, film, what we wanted to get out there. I think it was so artistic that it piqued the interest of many.
Andrew: The meaning and the mission behind it, the more you were talking about that. Got it. All right. Let me take a moment to talk about my sponsor and then we’ll come back to how you came up with the idea for Perksy.
Andrew: My first sponsor is a company called Brain.fm. You never heard of them? I did for years and I completely ignored. I said, yeah, I rolled my eyes actually. I’ll be honest with you. And here’s when I finally decided to give it a shot. I’ve been, because it’s summer here in San Francisco, I’ve been taking my iPad, going to interesting sunnyish places, you know, as sunny as you could get in San Francisco, and just working from inspiring places.
The problem with it is there are a lot of distractions. People all over. And so I put my earphones in and I listen to music and I still was not getting enough done. And I thought maybe it’s me, maybe just moving into a new environment is not working. I should sit at my desk. It’s less boring, but fine, I’m more productive there. And then I said, “You know what? Let’s just try this Brain.fm thing.”
I put my earphones in, I hit play on this thing, and there’s something about the wave, the audio waves that they’re playing, the music that they’re playing, that allowed me to stay in a focused place. And at first I thought maybe it’s just new music, that’s what’s doing it for me. And then I found myself doing this more and more, several times, lots of different places and getting focused and getting more results.
And I was still cynical and I went to, they keep saying, “Go to brain.fm/science.” And I looked at the science and, yes, they’ve got this fMRI scan that shows that your brain is more engaged when you’re listening to their music than when you’re listening to Spotify and all that.
And I still am such a cynic. Nadia, you just nodded. And when I did it, I didn’t even nod in my head to go, yeah, eye roll, fine. If anyone could get any scientific, anything to say anything. And I just didn’t trust it. But then I said, “You know what, dude? You’re actually getting more done. You’re staying focused. There’s something about this that’s working. Stick with it.”
And so I’ve been sticking with it and I’m a huge fan of theirs. Sachit Gupta, our ad salesperson called them up and got them as a sponsor. I’m very happy to say that, number one, they’re sponsoring Mixergy. Number two, if you need or if you want a discount, you go to brain.fm/mixergy and you will get it.
And number three, I know you’re not going to believe any of this. You’re going to say, “Andrew got paid. Andrew just maybe bought into something, another clever techie thing that he’ll be past within a week.” Try for yourself. If it works for you, even if it gets you a month of good focus work, you’ll be happy and you’ll thank me.
Nadia: Andrew, I literally wrote this down. I’m like, I literally wrote this down. I’m legitimately going to try this. I’m so excited.
Andrew: I think you’re going to see great results. And if you don’t, what do you lost? You hit play on something. Fine. And they do recommend that you do it with earphones because, and it’s kind of weird, you will feel, I’m telling you, within two minutes, you’re going to feel the wave. It’s going to actually start to do stuff to you. Go to brain.fm/mixergy. You, Nadia, are going to thank me for doing this.
All right. By the way, let me, before I go to Perksy, you’ve said you’ve had exits before. What’s the big exit that you had?
Nadia: I mean, I said I had exits. I didn’t say I had big exits. I think everyone defines that differently.
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Nadia: You know, as you progress, I mean, keep in mind that when I was 17 and leaving college . . .
Andrew: The painting company was an exit.
Nadia: I thought that was a huge exit. And then, like, I mean, [teach them 00:24:36]. I’ve had exits before. I think the most important thing is what you do with it. Like, to me, it’s not so much about the money that you get from an exit, because that’s not necessarily where my focus is. That’s like, it’s not my measure of success, is the impact I had. It’s what I got to do there.
Andrew: What you did while you were there.
Nadia: But also like . . .
Andrew: It does give you closure. It gives you closure.
Andrew: Like if you close a thing down, there’s an internal feeling that you have to wrestle with. It wasn’t a failure. You learned a lot, etc. If you exited, it does give you this closure. “I passed it on to someone else. The story has an ending. I could move on.”
Nadia: Hey, but I’m going to push back on you on that.
Andrew: Tell me.
Nadia: So you said that, like, to have an exit. So if you mean like a financial exit, you’re saying that gives you closure so that you can look back on something and be like, “Oh, wasn’t a failure. Like, I didn’t waste my time or whatever.” I object to the statement that requiring a financial exit helps you discern whether or not something’s . . .
Andrew: No, no. I definitely think more money means that the experience was better. No doubt. More impact means is better. But that’s not what I mean. I mean any kind of exit where the keys had been passed to someone else, the thing has been signed, and you now have closure with it. It helps tremendously. It helps tremendously.
Nadia: Yup. Absolutely. So, Andrew, you said after the break you were going to ask me about . . .
Nadia: Tell me where the idea came from. So circling on back to where we started, back to go to old Harvard Extension School. So I was in New York when I was just taking the courses. And then once I got into the full-time degree program, I moved to Boston part-time. Well, I would say most of the time. I was Airbnbing my apartment in New York. It was awesome.
You make great money doing that. Wow. Like, highly recommend New Yorkers. You can get away with it. So with full time on campus taking a bunch of different courses. And then about three months in, I got meningitis. So that wasn’t a great experience. I was . . . I lost my entire memory. I was at a huge conference. And I don’t know if that affected it, I don’t know if I shook someone’s hand, and something passed, I don’t know.
But I lost . . . I got the most earth shattering headache, like you would not believe. And it’s really fascinating. Like, this is going to sound really cheesy, but I’m going to try and break down the cheese. Like, there’s just, I know you’re not lactose intolerant so it’s fine. And the way that I saw is it just, it changed a lot of my perspective. If you lose your memory for a period of time and you just can’t, like, remember anything short term or long term.
Like, I still struggle sometimes to account details from that time period. Like, if you ask me, like, a book I read or even topics that I did really well on, like, for short term, like, I performed well in school and then wasn’t able, like, I today it might take me like five minutes to recall the name of a friend that I made there. So that was pretty tough. It took me a lot longer to recover in full. So I was in the hospital for a while.
I was on bedrest for about a month and a half. And then was able to recover the majority of my courses. They found ways to weight them. One I didn’t get their credit back just because I left early on enough. Like, I took early enough that it was cumulative. Wrote my exams later, early in the summer, and everything was weighted. It’s actually very stressful. Everything was weighted, like, on the final exam.
But I experienced some personality changes as well. And the neurologist said, like, “Well, that’s going to happen. Don’t worry. Like after about six months, it will come back.” But it was really stressful. One of the lasting things that stayed was sometimes I get stage fright. And growing up, like, I loved being on stage. I love performing. I competitively danced.
I was used to, like, doing solos at like North American Dance Competition, and I didn’t have a problem with that. And the first time, so I took a Harvard STEM school course called marketing management. It was an HBS course adapted for undergraduate credit. And when I had to present what then was the skeleton of Perksy, I almost blacked out. It was crazy. It was the first time I experienced that.
But so, in this course, as I was making up one of the credits come from a course I had to drop because of . . .
Andrew: After you recovered from meningitis.
Andrew: The meningitis, by the way, I had to look this up. Meningitis is an inflammation in the membrane surrounding your brain and spinal cord. If you have memory loss for meningitis, it’s kind of common and it’s from brain damage through meningitis. We’re talking about, like, a real physical problem to your brain. And you’re saying you eventually recovered mostly from it?
Nadia: Yeah. So I want to also make it clear that long-term memory loss is very different than short term memory loss. So if, yes, there are folks . . . I actually have a friend who works in San Francisco who works at a tech company there. His brother got meningitis and, like, lost hearing, like, in one of his ears. Like, he’s fully deaf in one ear just because it can affect you differently.
So I had meningoencephalitis, which is swelling of the brain itself and swelling of the meninges around the brain. So in the process of recovery, like, I was like, hallucinating, like, different parts of my brain were being activated in very strange ways. Like, my muscles would just twitch. Like, if anyone’s ever seen like, a “Grey’s Anatomy” episode where they’re operating on a brain and they, like, tap a piece of the brain, or like “House,” and they tap a part of the brain and, like, activates. I mean, it’s not as dramatic as it is on . . .
Andrew: What you’re saying meningitis is basically tapping your brain in different spots and who knows what’s going to happen? That’s what you’re saying.
Nadia: I mean, I’m not an expert but vaguely.
Andrew: You’re saying also that because of that, did you end up dropping out of Harvard because of this?
Nadia: It’s not because of that. I would say that it definitely factored into my decision to build Perksy. So I came up . . . So when I was in school over the summer, so we were asked to build a product or service to the Cambridge area.
Andrew: Build a what?
Nadia: Bring a product or service to the Cambridge area. It was, like, for a summative project.
Andrew: They just want you to create something.
Nadia: No, no, no. Like, to bring one. So like, it was like, “Okay, let’s identify something that doesn’t exist here, like a Blue Bottle.” So you have to do market research and [build 00:30:43] a marketing plan around it and all that. It was a marketing management course.
Andrew: Okay. Like the Blue Bottle Coffee company. You’re pretending to bring it in just to see how it would work. Okay.
Nadia: So I decided to create my own. So I realized that there were students at Harvard on the athletic team that were participating in clinical trials for just, like, pocket money on the weekend. And sometimes they weren’t always eligible for these trials. So I was like, a), that’s hilarious and respect the hustle. B) terrible quality assurance for researchers. So I decided to create an app called ULAB.
It consolidated all the school’s studies and like fMRI studies from psych department and clinical trials from the three participating Harvard hospitals into one feed that enables students to register. They were pre-screened and registered for the studies in the app and get paid off of the app.
And after I presented and almost blacked out, as I mentioned, my prof, she was like, “You should consider taking this to market, but I do believe that you should go replant it. And just because something’s a great business opportunity, it doesn’t mean that you’re the person to build that business.” I don’t . . . I had zero big pharma experience at that time, so I was like, “It just doesn’t make sense.”
But like, but I do know marketing and I do have customers that I can call up. So I called some of my old customers and I was like, “Listen, are you guys . . . ? Like, is this a problem that you actually experience? Because we were exposed to some Nielsen tools. It seemed like . . . The process seems, like, pretty mundane and outdated.” And they were like, “Nadia, if you find a way to help us reach millennials and Gen Z especially, like, we will give you business.” I was like, “Great.”
Andrew: So ask them questions. So the pharmaceutical companies were going to millennials, just to your fellow college students, and saying, “We’re going to pay you to do this study. And the research . . . ” Sorry, go ahead.
Nadia: Not for ULAB. Not for ULAB. So, very different.
Andrew: No, no, I get it. I’m trying to understand the jump from one to the other.
Nadia: They would just have flyers. Like, if you’re in Boston and just, like, sit on the, like, the bus . . . walk down the street, you can see these giant blackboards, like, the bus ads that are like, “Participate in our clinical trial.”
Andrew: In our study. Got it.
Nadia: They exist all over Boston.
Andrew: That’s how they get people. So when I was talking earlier about Brain.fm, that they were doing MRI tests while somebody’s listening, it’s possible that there was a flyer somewhere in Boston for something like this to test it.
Nadia: Totally. Totally. Absolutely.
Andrew: That’s how they do it. Got it.
Nadia: It would’ve been a great use case for . . . yeah.
Andrew: Yeah, I could see that that would be perfect. It’s easy to test and so on. Okay. And so, you saw that, you said, “You know what? I don’t really . . . This isn’t my world, but I wonder if there are other companies that could use millennials, like the college students I’m in school with.”
Nadia: Yes. I saw an opportunity. So it started with students. And the opportunity was, “Well, if these students want to participate in research for pocket company and these brands are dying to talk to millennials and Gen Z, wouldn’t it make sense to connect them?”
Andrew: Well, let me understand. How did you even get those companies? How did you even get to talk to them? You said that you knew them.
Nadia: Yeah. They were my old customers or just, like, friends.
Andrew: Old customers where?
Nadia: Like all over the world.
Andrew: No, I mean, this was not at Birdcage Media.
Nadia: No, at Foursixty. At Foursixty.
Andrew: Foursixty was your agency. Am I right?
Nadia: Not an agency. It was a tech company. So.
Andrew: What was that?
Nadia: Yeah. So it was a social media tool or digital marketing tool. They consolidated all the brands there. It still does, consolidate all of our brands community generated content and social content into one feed, which they can embed anywhere into their digital space. And they can make those feeds shoppable.
Andrew: I see. You know what? I missed that when I was going through your LinkedIn profile. Now I see it and I get it. And so you, that’s the other, the third company that we didn’t talk about. That’s the one where you were selling to big companies. And you went back to them and you said, “Hey, listen, what if I could get you this?” And they said yes. Why did they even want them? What were they trying to ask?
Nadia: I mean, it’s not about what they’re trying to ask, it’s what they’re trying to solve for. I think that’s the more important question.
Andrew: What are they trying to solve for?
Nadia: Like, I mean that’s, it’s a tough question to answer because it’s super vague, but I’ll give you some examples. Like, I just mean it really depends on the industry. Not everyone is trying to solve the same problem, but like let’s say you’re a retailer and you’re trying to better understand how to get Gen Zers into your stores.
Because, you know, there’s some data that’s telling you that everything’s going increasingly online and they’re looking to e-commerce, other research that’s saying that they’re looking at, you know, these microbrands and these [DTC 00:35:01] companies, and some research that might say, “No, it’s just your company.”
So they’re trying to figure out, “Well, what is the right research? You know, what does Gen Z want and why are they shopping or not shopping in my stores?” Same with like new product development, concept testing, brand awareness. We do a variety of things.
Andrew: So you know what I would imagine is, so one thing that I’ve noticed, I was in Philly last week, I noticed that a lot of the stores had hard seltzer. And so I imagine that a company might say, “We want to understand what looking for in hard seltzer. Why are they . . . ?”
Nadia: I’ve done research around that.
Nadia: We’ve worked with companies to do research.
Andrew: You have.
Andrew: And so I guess the way that I might do it is I might just go into a bar and ask some people who are drinking it or stand at a store and ask people who are drinking and say, “Why are you drinking a hard? Why are you shaking . . . ?”
Nadia: No, here’s why you can’t do that? Here’s why you can’t do that, Andrew. Because if you walk into a bar in a particular neighborhood, let’s say it’s the trendiest neighborhoods in town. You walk into that bar, that could be hugely skewed that all those folks are willing to try hard seltzer.
Maybe they’re also, you know, the folks that fall into the bucket, they have Equinox memberships, they take Soul Cycle classes. They’ve Away travel suitcases. They wear Warby Parker glasses. They could fall into that particular class.
Andrew: Ah, they might be doing it because other people are doing it and it happens.
Nadia: Yeah. Just like, it’s also for that demographic. Like, it’s depending on the neighborhood. If you just walk into a bar, like, you’re not getting as real and representative sample of everyday American consumers all across the United States. And if you’re a big company, you need to create products and or services that cater to your total audience.
Andrew: Nadia, one of the things that I love about you is when I said that, you got so far you lean forward. “Andrew, that is bad research what you’re talking about.” I get it.
Nadia: Well, it’s just erroneous. Like, it’s just no. Like, it’s not a good approach.
Andrew: Okay. And so when you were starting out, how did you then know how to get a proper representative group of people for clients?
Nadia: So, Andrew, this is what I want to share because I like telling as many people who listen to this. So my belief when it comes to entrepreneurship is just because you have a good idea, and I think I kind of started saying this earlier, but just because you have a good idea and you have a great product concept or a great concept for a service, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the market is big enough.
And then maybe it is or you discover that. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the right person to build on particular product. Or maybe you think you are, but maybe you also don’t have resources or access to resources that you need in order to build the company. And maybe it doesn’t allow [inaudible 00:37:38] long term.
So maybe it’s not venture backable because you just want to do, you know, 8 million a year in revenue and that’s it. And you’re totally happy with having a business in that size. So I think it’s really important to sit down and do the research. It’s like, I’m big on market research. We have a competitive research channel on our Slack, and we put things in there all the time.
We do analysis. We want understand folks in the market to the best of our ability, you know, as they pop up on our radar. Obviously, we can’t dedicate a ton of time, but as much as we can and whenever it comes up, we try to address it. But I spent . . . So I showed up in San Francisco. So I was like, “I’m going to go to San Francisco.”
And I remember my mom was like, “I don’t know, you might not come back.” And I was like, “LOL, mom, I’m such an East Coast girl. Like, what are you talking about?” Go to San Francisco, call her after two weeks. I’m like, “Yeah, I’m not so I need your help, like, clearing out my Boston room.”
And I spent . . . So I incorporated my company in September, 2015. I spent the next four months just doing research, talking to folks who had tried to do something similar and it failed. So that was what I was most interested in. I don’t want to know who was succeeding, I wanted to know who failed and why.
For one of those CEOs, he was luckily happy to talk to me. He was like, “I think it just wasn’t our time.” He’s like, you know what, if you think about it, like, Perksy wouldn’t have worked in 2011 because the proliferation of mobile just wasn’t there yet. Like Instagram wasn’t where it is today.
So I think folks just weren’t as used to just turning to mobile apps and spending as much time in app as they are today. But I was like, he was like, “I think the way that you’re doing it makes sense and I think your timing is right.” So the timing was right, the market was ready, and then I just started figuring out how I was going to build it.
I literally wrote a business plan because, you know, I’m super cool like that. Nice 68-paged business plan, took it to my uncle. And I was like, “Can you help me edit this?” And I just wanted to get all my thoughts on paper and, like, my long-term goals [inaudible 00:39:25].
Andrew: It wasn’t because you were planning give this to a venture capitalist and you felt I needed to do this for them. It was you had to get your thoughts on paper and think it through. And this provided the structure for that?
Nadia: It’s a big decision. So like, I knew that, like, I’m a very go big or go home kind of person. It’s just, like, you know, it’s either run a really big company or just don’t run the company. And so, for me, I wanted to sit down and make sure that, like, all the right things were there. I’d thought through as much as I knew to think through at the time.
Obviously, new things cropped up that I’ve learned since. But as much as I knew I could solve for, I tried to. I wanted to get it on paper because I wanted to basically make sure. I wanted to sit down, go through the exercise, and I’m like, “If I’m willing to do this and I can read this a couple of times and I’m just as jazzed when I’m done reading this the third time after going through, like, 68 pages, I’m just as jazzed, this makes sense for me.”
And then I wanted to make sure that I could clearly communicate what it was I was trying to accomplish. Also, it ended up coming in handy because I’m Canadian and I my recently got my U.S. visa and I finally got approved. And they required a business plan and I was like, “Thank goodness.”
Andrew: Oh, wow.
Nadia: Yeah. So for the amount of [inaudible 00:40:40].
Andrew: The U.S. required a business plan to get a visa.
Nadia: Yeah. For my particular visa the E2.
Andrew: Okay. Wow.
Nadia: Yeah. So it came in handy. But I still, like, reference it from time to time because sometimes it’s good to know what you’re thinking at the time and to see what’s changed. And trying to think critically about whether or not you’ve strategically decided to do something different or you’re veering too far away from, like, what you’ve always sort of wanted to focus on. So, yeah.
Andrew: We’re going to come back to a couple of things. I’m going to talk about my second sponsor and then I’m going to come back and ask you, how did you get those initial millennials to download the app and to give feedback and to make sure that you were getting a broad enough group of people.
And then, I was on their website and, the early version of your website, and there was just like two links and one of them was to a video, and I couldn’t find it on Vimeo. You told our producer . . .
Nadia: How did you find that site?
Andrew: I’d go back in time. And then you happened to mention to our producer that you did this on iMovie. I want to find out what that video was . . .
Nadia: Oh my God. Yeah.
Andrew: And access it. All right. First, I want to talk about my second sponsor. It’s a company called HostGator. I’ve talked a lot about HostGator as a place to go when you’re looking to have a website hosted. I will tell you that our listener, I forget who it is. He sent me a message.
He said, “Andrew, I just want to disagree with you on one thing. I signed up. The one problem that I have with what you’ve said is you keep saying it’s unlimited domains, meaning I can host unlimited websites, and it’s not. And I should be clear with you guys.” You will have to pay for your own domain name.
So if you come up with fashionvisionboardII.com, you got to pay for the.com. But then they will host it for you for free. If you decide, you know what, actually what I want to do is millennialresearch.net, whatever, you get the domain. They will host it for you for free as part of your package.
Or what you could do is what I’ve done in the past is I get Andrewwarner.com and then whatever new idea I have to put a visionboard.andrewwarner.com and I link people to that and I launched that. Events.andrewwarner.com and I link people to that. And with the HostGator account, you get to have all those different domains hosted as individual websites.
Super easy, super-fast, and for free if you pick that middle option on a specific webpage I’m about to give you, which is hostgator.com/mixergy. When you go to hostgator.com/mixergy you’ll get the lowest price that they have available for hosting websites and you’ll get their great service, reliable hosting, and they will scale with you. When you’re ready to grow, they will be there with you.
Look at this. I’m on hostgator.com. It’s called the baby plan. They’ve got to change the names on this. They’ve got to call it, like, the upstart plan, the startup plan, the something else. Make us feel, like, elevated by it instead of the baby plan. All right. But I want to do their marketing for them. I do want to keep . . .
Nadia: Or maybe it’s great marketing. And being on the baby plan is something that you want to grow out of. And so you upgrade to [inaudible 00:43:16].
Andrew: Ah. And maybe it’s also less intimidating. Come on, it’s just a baby plan. You can do this. Just go head, start, and you’re good to go.
Nadia: Yeah. I think it’s great.
Andrew: All right. Maybe they didn’t think this through more than I did. All right.
Nadia: Yeah, Andrew. Gosh.
Andrew: You know, we have an agreement with our sponsors that I could say whatever I want. And for the most part, that’s worked out well. But Sachit told me that I really, I was not going to say the name of the sponsor, I really ruined the ad that I did with James Altucher.
They asked me to talk about this thing that he was selling and all I did was I talked about how he told me in his Mixergy interview that he was going to commit suicide. And I asked him how he was going to commit suicide and he had his whole plan and he gave it in the interview. And then I said, “And by the way, he’s got this product that he paid us to talk about it.”
And they said, “What is this, like, rambling thing that Andrew just did?” And Sachit said, “I just sold this ad. I don’t even know what you’re talking about. What is this?” So sometimes, it works well that I get to riff. And sometimes, it doesn’t. This HostGator was, I’m going to give it like a B plus, a B maybe.
Nadia: Maybe you just need some pushback. You just need, like, a good [inaudible 00:44:18], just be like, “Hey, well, Andrew, what about this? Did you think about this perspective?
Andrew: Within the ad?
Nadia: Yeah. Especially if you’re riffing.
Andrew: I actually have been thinking. You know what? I try to engage my guests with it but they’re a little afraid of being, like, combative with me. I even tell guests, I didn’t say it to you, but if you’ve got something that you use . . .
Nadia: Oh, my God. I’m so not afraid to do that, Andrew. I will.
Andrew: Oh, really? But what are you going to argue with HostGator? But maybe I should then, invite you to just punch back. Tell me why HostGator is not good so we can have a little argument. You’re right. I do need that. Do you need that too? I feel like you do.
Nadia: Yeah. I’d love that. No, no, no. I try to tell everyone in our company to do that. Like, I might push back.
Andrew: I do too. How do you get them to actually push back?
Nadia: You have to train them from day one. And also, that’s my personality because it’s the kind of family I grew up in. Like, we just, like, it’s not combative. I think, like, that if you address it as being combative, I think you can have too much of, like, a negative connotation. Like, I need you to push back because I want to play devil’s advocate or I need you to play devil’s advocate.
Nadia: So we need to do push and pull. So like, actually, one of my employees was doing an interview and they’d asked them, like, you know, “What’s one of the things that Nadia has taught you?” And it’s so, like, weird to hear that because I’m like, “Whoa, I taught someone something?” Like, that. But I remember sitting there and being like, “Wow, interesting.”
He was like, that whatever it is, like, when you’re in a conversation, that coming forth and whatever you want to challenge, the most important thing is getting to the right answer, the right solution. And that Nadia doesn’t care how you do it. Like, it just doesn’t matter how.
Like, I don’t need to be right. I just don’t. I have no attachment to being right myself. I have an attachment to us getting to the right answer. Which means that someone here needs to get to the right answer. Whichever is the most likely to be right . . .
Andrew: And the person who’s doing the work is more likely to be right. But if they feel at all intimidated about bringing it up to you and telling you, “Well, actually, you’re not supposed to be doing that,” it’s a problem.
Andrew: But it’s intimidating. Actually, we missed a deadline by, like, seven days internally on something that we’re working on. And I said to Marisela, “Why didn’t you push back on me?” She said, “I did. I pushed back. And then you push back on me.” Do it again. Like, we could actually, like, disagree.
If you think that . . . And the truth is it’s because I wanted to okay any text that was going out. But we all agreed that, in this team call, she could have said, “Andrew, it’s going out to, like, 100 people. It’s the ad we’re testing. And then after the ad, who cares? It’s only 100 people maybe who are going to go. Just say yes already, let’s go.” I need her to do that.
And not just once, but two or three times because I have to respond quickly to what everyone presents in front of me. I’m not necessarily analyzing everything enough.
Nadia: I think sometimes it’s also because people are afraid. Especially like, so let’s say this is, like, it’s true. Like, she wants to tell you the truth. I think sometimes folks are afraid that if they tell you something that you don’t want to hear and you’re the boss, that you might fire them, or their job might be in jeopardy.
But my perspective is I would never fire anyone for telling me the truth. Like, it doesn’t matter if I want to hear it or not. If you’re telling me the truth, like, it’s not the kind of thing, like, you just wouldn’t get fired for that. I would actually, like, deeply, deeply value that.
Andrew: If anything, I’m constantly worried that I don’t know the truth, that I’m off. You know? I’m constantly, like, what am I missing? What’s not happening? All right. I should get back into this story. You were saying that you had the business plan, you came to San Francisco, you did something with TechCrunch Disrupt and then we’ll get to that.
Nadia: Yeah. I know what you’re . . . I know. This is what you’re asking you. You found the website, the early website.
Nadia: It has this video and you mentioned iMovie. So the thing about this is I decided earlier that day that I was going to register a website. So like, I think I had planned to incorporate videos a week before I changed it, done like a name change. Like, I knew I wanted to start this company. So this was I think September of 2015. Yeah. September or early October, one of the two, I think September.
And I decided to register this website. And I was like, because I was like, “Oh my God, if I go to TechCrunch Disrupt,” and I’ve never been to TechCrunch Disrupt, “If I go to TechCrunch Disrupt and I don’t have a website, like, I can’t tell people that I have a company, that I’m the CEO and founder of Perksy if there’s no website.”
So I literally made an iMovie video and uploaded it as the full screen site and was like, “This is now my website.” And what’s hilarious is when we were talking to customers or, like, prospects prior, like, immediately prior to launch, like, right before in the late fall of 2017, there was one prospect that was like, well, then became our customer.
So, like, the one customer that was like, “I really loved your video.” I’m like, “What video?” And like, “That video, you know, that the brands want to know?” And I was like, “Oh my gosh, where did you find that?” And then, but it was so funny. They loved it. I feel like we should bring it back.
Andrew: I’m watching. I found it. I’m watching it right now.
Nadia: No, no, no. Andrew, you need to stop it right now. You know why? You’re not allowed to watch it without the music.
Andrew: I’m listening with the music while we were talking. It’s in ear buds. I’m telling you I’m listening to it. Like that, right?
Nadia: Yeah, it’s Sleepyhead. Yeah. Do you know [inaudible 00:49:22] find a version of that song? Like, there was a cut that we used at Birdcage back in the day and, like, I had been seeking. I just wanted that, the cut.
Andrew: I’m impressed that you were able to make iMovie work. I’ve watched Casey Neistat talk about how you can start with iMovie the way that he did. iMovie stinks as an editing platform. This is really good. Where’s you get the footage? Was it stock footage that you got that was slowed down?
Nadia: I bought stock footage and just, like, yeah, from there, I cut it.
Andrew: Okay, good. I was wondering. I think this is good. I don’t know what you’re talking about. This is great. I don’t think you’re being . . .
Nadia: Yeah, I know. But like, you compare it to what we have today and, like, you know, we just finished working with a video team that literally went out and got the best ever. We have an amazing creative director.
Andrew: I get it. Yeah, no doubt that this is. But I think what you did is great. I just can’t exactly tell what the company’s about but I do get a sense of what the brand is about.
Nadia: [inaudible 00:50:11] that fee. This is pre. This is pre-business plan. So I also was unsure what the company was fully about.
Andrew: Oh, so you just knew what certain brands want to know.
Nadia: I am starting a company that is going to reward people for answering questions from brands and is going to be consumer research. Here’s the thing, I’ve always been committed to solving the same problem. And so the way in which we’ve done that has evolved over time and, like, how I’ve documented that has evolved over time. But the mission has always been the same.
Which is, like, this is, I want to build a platform and it’s going to be, there’s a platform side, there’s going to be app side. That’s what I know. And I’m going to help brands get real time research from their audience and it’s going to be better. It’s going to higher quality. They’re going to talk to real people. They’re going to talk to . . . Like, I’ve never participated in Nielsen [inaudible 00:51:00].
Andrew: Yeah, again, you’re leaning forward. I can tell. I wish people could watch this. We’ve gone all audio now, but I can tell when . . .
Nadia: No, like, Andrew, like, I’m literally sweating. Like, I’m fired.
Andrew: So I thought it’s interesting to see this kind of passion because there’s still a part of me that says, “Well, maybe she just found a market opportunity. She’s going to milk it for what she can. She raised the money, she’s going to sell it, and then she’ll move on to the thing that she’s truly passionate about.” But I could see the passion.
Frankly, I could see the passion even in house painting and the fact that you don’t have to use any of whatever that tape is that I can’t even remember the name of.
Nadia: I’ll be honest, though, house painting was definitely not my passion. So I’ve . . .
Andrew: Right. What I mean is that you’re not doing things that you’re not passionate about. You get worked up about what you’re doing. The only time that I’ve seen you get anxious is about any design things in the past, any, even the name not being right. Me seeing past websites that don’t express your style the way that you care about.
Let me ask you this. How did you get the first people to . . . ? How’d you get your first customer? Why don’t we start with how are you going to get the people who are going to respond and then we’ll get to the first customer.
Nadia: So I’m going to back it up a bit because I think it’s really important to kind of explain how I got there. It was just me for about a year, a year and two months. It was just me building Perksy. So I figured that, like, I knew what I had to do, I needed to hire engineers. And I was like, “Well, no engineer’s going to want to join unless they can see the designs.”
So I sat down and I was like, “I can’t afford a designer.” But you know what I do have in abundance right now? Time. I have plenty of time and only minimal money because this money is going to have to last me for a while. So I bought a bunch of textbooks, lots of software, and taught myself how to design.
So the app designs that we use today are still the designs that I created back in the day. We’ve like, evolved them a bit but I still evolve them. So that’s kind of been an interesting little tidbit there. But the reason I bring that up is because the design is so important. How you communicate the value to folks, it’s really so important.
Like, I know people say it is, but I think they don’t, like . . . I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you.
Andrew: But how’d you get anyone to even come onto the website and see the design? How did you get these respondents?
Nadia: So it’s different. Respondents, I started getting first because, like, if you think about it, our audiences are commodity. Like, we don’t have a business if we don’t have a strong audience, which is why we prioritize that, like, above all else. We make sure that there’s a really representative sample of everyday American and Canadian consumers all across the United States and Canada.
That, to me, was really important. But we started off by going to folks and being like, like, friends and people in the community and just being, like, “Can you get your younger siblings to download this app and can you download this app?” So that’s how it started. So we got going that way. And man, these Gen Zers are crazy.
Like, we had one of our, later, once we hired engineers, our mobile engineer had a younger sister. We, like, needed a bunch of new Gen Zers. And this was like, before we launched, we had like a beta version. So it was internal. It wasn’t live on the app store yet. But of course, we had everything on TestFlight. Like, she got us, like, 300 downloads in, like, an afternoon. And all of those kids became active. So when we [inaudible 00:54:11].
Andrew: And you incentivized her, right?
Nadia: Yeah. I was like, “I’ll buy you whatever you want from Sephora.”
Andrew: Oh, that was it. I thought it was like, built-in perk . . .
Nadia: No, no, no. Okay, keep in mind, this is prelaunch. Like, we started building our audience prelaunch and we started going to high school and campus and to ask kids. So I was like, this worked for me historically. So just, like, having it, in general, whenever you find some kind of ambassador, it worked at Foursixty, so having bloggers as ambassadors.
So I decided to take that, you know, that kind of approach and just try to track down folks. Like, I just asked people, I was like, shameless. I literally once I was away for 4th of July weekend and this was in Sonoma and there were some kids playing basketball on the way up the hill to, like, where my friends and I were staying.
And I was just like, “Stop.” Got out of the car and was like, “I want to tell you about this app called Perksy,” and I started talking about Perksy. And they were like, “This is so cool.” And I was like, “Awesome.” So the value prop was so high. We just talked to whoever would listen.
Because like, I don’t know, I call it, I don’t know if it’s shamelessness, but, like, I already don’t have what . . . Like, at the time, I was like, “I already don’t have what I want. So if I don’t ask for it, I’m going to continue not having.”
Andrew: But you’d need thousands of people to use the app. This . . .
Nadia: We have viral loops built into the app. Folks are sharing the [inaudible 00:55:35].
Andrew: [inaudible 00:55:35] with the viral loops then. So once you got a few people seated, what are the viral loops?
Nadia: I mean, so . . .
Andrew: In the early days.
Nadia: We were able to . . . Yeah. So we were able to see just, like, this is even pre-campus ambassadors. Like, we got to about 6,000 just from, like, absolute word of mouth, not in-app sharing loop, not you using campus ambassadors. From there, we built an ambassador program. That started helping too. They started inviting through the app. They get points for the invite.
So, Andrew, if you download the Perksy app and you invite 20 friends, you’ll literally get 20 bucks. If they have to answer more than two stacks. So there’s a bit of a process, but it’s like, well worth it. The value prop’s high. That’s like, that’s a pizza.
Andrew: Okay. I get that.
Nadia: We promise [we’ll 00:56:21] get some pizza.
Andrew: And so this is how you got people in. Okay. Let’s talk about the first client. You told our producer, “Look, I can’t talk about the first client. I’m not allowed to disclose it. But I could tell a little bit about how we got them.” How’d you get them?
Nadia: Yeah, I can’t disclose names but I can disclose the scenario.
Andrew: Okay. Yeah.
Nadia: Yeah, because it’s usually either one or the other. It’s usually fine in this scenario. But so we got our first client, this is like prelaunch actually, so this was like a test. They worked with us in the beta phase. But they’re a big beauty company. And I gave my first ever, like, the actual big talk on Perksy at something called the PR Swipe Right Conference here in New York, put on by Haymarket Media.
And all I had was 10 minutes, Andrew, I just had 10 minutes. I was like, “I’ve got 10 minutes to tell all these brand folks and these agencies and these stakeholders in this room that, like, in a couple of months, Perksy’s going to be on the market and they need to buy what it is I’m selling.”
So we got a bunch of leads from that. And then one of them acted the most quickly. It was an agency that was working on behalf of this client and they actually brought us in for the pitch. And they liked us so much, their client, liked us so much that they brought us in and then we were able to do a study with them. And that’s how we started our relationship with them.
Andrew: And what were they trying to understand?
Nadia: They specifically were trying to understand the skincare habits. Sorry, I’m trying to think about a position this without any proprietary . . . skincare habits of Gen Zers.
Andrew: Okay. Okay. I got it. And so you’ve got them as a client. When we’re talking about clients, what is a client worth to you guys? Hundreds? Not hundreds. Low thousands? Tens of thousands?
Nadia: So that one I, like, genuinely just can’t answer because we’re a consumption-based model, meaning that, like, you could spend $1,000 on our platform, you could spend 500 bucks on our platform, or you could spend $3 million on our platform. So it’s a consumption-based model.
It depends on the scale of the brand. How many markets they need to be in, how much research they’re trying to do, different types of research. Like, obviously, since we launched in January 2018, like, we did $10,000 revenue in our first month and it was just like all skyrocketed from there and . . .
Andrew: Okay. That gives me a sense of what we’re looking at. All right. Then within three months, you brought in a salesperson. What was the process that the salesperson went through to bring in new clients?
Nadia: So we hired someone that was a VP from one of the industry leaders and so he brought a client base with him. He had very strong relationships. Actually, one of my own startup buddies was like, “I used to work with this guy like at [Noward Brown 00:59:04] back in the day, you know, both of them . . . had since left, but he’s like, “This guy’s an amazing salesperson.”
And he was based in Canada. So, and he had offers from, like, other competitors. And I’ll bet that those offers were pretty good, probably better than ours. But I think he really believed in what it is that we were building. And he’s like, “This is the product that makes sense to me.” Having owned a sample, like, we’re one of the few that builds our own audience.
And that’s really hard to do. Like, kind of, like, the same way that you ask questions and you’re like, “How did you get people to even download this app?” Like, that’s a really valid question because it is hard to convince people to perform an action like that. Download an app and then start using it, continuously use it.
Like, we have very high retention and we have, like, what we believe to be the highest completion rate in the industry.
Andrew: And so what are . . . ? You said other people don’t own their audiences? What do they do?
Nadia: Yeah, so it’s through third party samples. So they use like APIs. So the traditional methodologies, even traditional as far as like digital goes, is basically recycling, using a standard antiquated pool professional panelists who are recycled through panel after panel. So they might go through an API like Lucid. There are some other companies out there that do it.
They’re basically aggregators of panels. So all these companies can pool their panel together. But you can’t validate that, like, those people are who they say they are and there’s no prevention on bots. So I actually developed a feature on mobile that we’ve since registered a patent on that prevents bots from getting into the platform.
Andrew: I see it. Lucidhq.com. That’s the way that other people do it, you’re saying.
Nadia: I can’t guarantee that everyone’s doing it that way, but I mean . . .
Andrew: But that’s the tool that you’re saying that they use.
Nadia: Not everyone, there are different providers. So like I shouldn’t, like, make that kind of generalization. But third-party sample, yes. They are using third-party sample.
Nadia: And I’ve heard stories of, like, sample fraud. So like, you’ll hear of panel fraud. Like you’ll hear about panel fraud where if, like, you’ve got a research firm that can’t necessarily fill the audience, if they can’t get the third-party sample quickly enough, like they could go to survey firms in the Philippines.
Andrew: And just . . .
Nadia: Yeah, I could get in trouble for saying that. But like, I mean, not naming any names but, like, this happens. We hired the former global CMO of Nielsen as well as some, like, industry leaders like executives, senior folks from Nielsen, Ipsos, Kantar, the legacy research firms.
Andrew: You see that’s your hiring practice. I feel like . . .
Nadia: No, no. It’s combination. I hire the people that are right for the job.
Andrew: What about Tom Markert, for example? Where did he come from? He’s your COO?
Nadia: Yeah, that’s who I was talking about. He’s the former global CMO of Nielsen.
Andrew: Yeah. This is like, there are a bunch of people who’ve done this before who are coming in and working with you. I feel like that’s a Cameron Herold move. He’s the one who told me, “Listen, if you’re hiring, find somebody who’s done the job before and can then do it for you.”
Nadia: It’s like it’s not just about doing it for us, it’s about having, like, player coaches. It’s about having folks that are in the ring with you and coaching. Like actually, I would say it’s like having a boxing coach. They’re right there on the side, they can tell you exactly what to do. They’ll train you in the right way. You know, and I think it’s more beneficial to have them early on.
Then like, you know, I think companies evolve and different types of folks get hired. But early on, it’s so beneficially. They taught me so much. I mean, Andrew, my learning curve, as I told you, my mom is just learner, kind of adopted that as well. Early on, like, just having access to this kind of knowledge and information has been completely invaluable to me.
Andrew: All right. I’m getting now how the business was getting built up. Let’s talk about subscription. That was a big move for you to switch to subscription. How did that happen?
Nadia: You know, we just, we just respond to what our customers want. I mean, like, I’m not sitting here being like, ‘Subscription as the way to go and therefore subscription.” It’s more just like, one of our customers was like, “Do you have subscription options?” And we were like, “Yeah, sure. Do you want a subscription? We’ll give you a subscription.”
Like, you can buy enough and then we’ll price it accordingly so that it’s more attractive in a subscription format. But like, not everyone likes the word subscription. So we started like, you know, playing around with the language that we use.
You know, we might use other words sometimes, but I think subscription was an interesting move for us. It was, you know, whatever your customers want, you just kind of got to do. Whatever serves them.
Andrew: Oh, no, that’s not . . . I thought it was Perksy Alpha. That’s not what that is though.
Nadia: No, that is not what that is.
Andrew: No, that’s more like one question at a time, right? 20 cents per person who fills it out. Am I right about this? Instant answers? Why are you looking like I shouldn’t have found that page?
Nadia: Because I’m just making sure it’s not one of our old . . . I mean you got a keyboard so I’m going to have a keyboard too.
Andrew: Yeah, I’m constantly researching everything as we were talking about it. All right. I thought maybe the subscription was a bigger deal. She’s . . . I’ll let you keep typing it out.
Nadia: Well, I mean, no, no, no. Like, it is. It definitely is. It’s been some of our largest . . . Yeah, this is there. Oh, wow. I see. I’ll pick this up. Yeah, this is very cool. Very cool.
Andrew: I’ll move on to another topic. You guys can do whatever you want with that page. Let’s close it out with this, right? I want to end up on a high note and that is that you told me . . .
Nadia: Wait, Andrew, are you telling me that it hasn’t been a high note?
Andrew: No, it is, but you know, not with this awkward situation where I just found something that now sends you scrambling to text everyone.
Nadia: I need to know. I mean, like, it’s just a website. It’s kind of like what you said earlier that, like, when it comes to design and brand, I think it’s just, like, when you care so deeply about something, especially when you’re so passionate about a company and you’ve spent so much time and energy building that’s like, these folks have become like my family.
Like, there’s someone sitting right over there. I can see them from a across the floor. And he was my first hire, my current SVP of product, Andrew. These people have helped me and contributed to my journey, like, colossally. They’ve helped pulled me aside when I’ve said the wrong thing, when I’m freaking out about something I don’t need to be freaking out about, championing me when I need championing.
Andrew: I see that.
Nadia: [inaudible 01:05:36] lift me up like that. Like, it’s just when you care so much about something, it’s like every single detail matters.
Andrew: You see, that sounds sweet. For some reason, I don’t like sweet. I’m still, like, searching. It’s Andrew Lin, that’s a senior vice president of product. Here’s what I’m fascinated by, here’s what I want to get from you. You said to our producer, “Look, after meningitis I decided I’m not going to accept low points.”
I would like to feel like I can’t accept low points in my life. That feels like a super power. I wanted to end with that. How do you get to a place where you’re . . . ? Is that genuine, by the way?
Nadia: What do you mean? So what do you mean by that?
Andrew: What did you mean by that? I thought maybe because you had this meningitis issue that just threw you for a loop, you knew everything or you knew a lot.
Nadia: Oh, okay. So I know what you’re talking about. So it changed my perspective on how I define a low point.
Andrew: What do you mean?
Nadia: Like, so it’s not so much that I don’t feel them because, like, that’s literally just not a thing. Like, I wish that was possible. But you know, I think in order to be . . . Like, if you’re a passionate person, you have a lot of emotion and that means both, like, really like, that’s joy and that’s also, like, great sadness. It’s at both ends of the spectrum. What it changed was that . . .
Like, when I meant I don’t accept low points, it’s how long I stay in them and how I deal with them. Getting meningitis, like, Andrew, like, I literally thought I was going to die. That’s not a . . . That’s like a really . . . It’s not a great thing to feel. Like, it’s very strange. Like I thought I was going to die.
Like, I remember crying at one point, my dad and being like, “I’m going to lose. Like, my memories never going to come back. I’m going to be like this for the rest of my life. I’ve lost every opportunity.” I pride myself on my brain because I’m good at remembering things. I mean, it’s slightly changed by now how stressful I just become. But yeah, for the most part, like, I have an excellent memory.
Like I’m not . . . This is how I get by. Like, my brain is how I get by and, like, I’m losing that right now. And what if I never get that back? So I think it’s just, like, what pulls me out of this is it changed my perspective. I was like, “Remember that time where you thought there was no more going toward? You just, like, you didn’t think that you could have . . . Like, you just couldn’t see like 10 feet in front of you?”
[inaudible 01:07:36] you thought it was just done. When you experienced that . . . Like, I’m not sure. You mentioned earlier that you spoke to someone who was planning on committing suicide. I wonder what his perspective is like. I think, like, I wonder, obviously, you know, lived to talk about it, you know, thankfully.
I’m sure his perspective has changed too. Like, you get to a certain point and you’re just like, “I will never let this . . . I’m not going to get stuck in this. I just refuse to get stuck in this because it could be so much worse.” And it changed my attitude towards fear as well. I’m just not as afraid of certain things. I developed like an even greater intestinal fortitude than I would say I had before.
Andrew: I get that. I do tap into that. I didn’t have a point in my life where I was going to die, but I did have a point my financial life was going to die. Where I was like $5 million in debt from what I remember and I was too exhausted to try to figure out what to do. And I remember saying, “If I ever get through it, I’m going to appreciate what I have.”
And I do now. Whenever things are bad, I go, “Well, you’re not that down. This is like a dream compared to where you were back then. This literally would be your dream that you are hoping to get to.” And it does help to tap back into that. All right. I think that is what I was looking for there.
All right. For anyone who wants to go check out your website, is there any use in my audience even going into your website? Is . . . ? I don’t even think it’s built for them.
Nadia: Do people here have companies?
Andrew: They do.
Nadia: Is anyone here building a product that they want to understand whether or not . . . ?
Andrew: Like, how would I use you? If I decided, you know what, I’m kind of into this. How could I personally, at Mixergy, use Perksy?
Nadia: Actually, here’s a good example. You could create a custom stack code. So stack is our branded [inaudible 01:09:07] for survey. You can create a custom stack code and anyone who’s listening to Mixergy, you can give them that code. When they download Perksy, they can enter that code in place where in the sidebar.
And then you know who’s a Mixergy listener. You could target those folks and ask them, “What did you think about my last episode?” I mean, you could also do this on your own, but what’s helpful is understanding the demographics. So understanding, like, what else do these people listen to? You know, what kind of music do they like? What kind of jobs do they do?
Andrew: And they will get that without having to answer that question for me because they’ve answered it for you.
Nadia: Yeah. So you can better understand your audience, the psychographics, the demographics. Like . . .
Andrew: Do I have to pay to ask them questions if they’re my audience that I sent to you?
Nadia: No, Andrew, it’s free.
Andrew: It’s free.
Andrew: No, but it’s my audience. So why would I do that instead of just using my own survey software?
Nadia: You can absolutely use your own survey software, but I would challenge you on what your response rates are.
Andrew: Ah, you’re saying you’re going to get me higher response rates and you’re going to enrich my data with more information about who they are.
Nadia: Industry standard, 1% to 5% response rates. 5% is awesome.
Andrew: So how much if I pay? Let’s say 1,000 people. Let’s suppose a thousand people go to mixergy.com/perksy. I’m interrupting you and you’re trying . . . Let’s say 1,000 people go to mixergy.com/perksy, if we set that up, they install the app, they then get to answer my questions. How much is it going to cost me to ask them a question?
Nadia: It depends. It depends on how many people you’re trying to talk to. So like, we basically have a built in pricing calculator. So it will let you know. You buy credits. So you could buy a certain number of credits and then every time you talk to your audience, we’d pull from those credits.
Andrew: And what I’m trying to understand is who is listening and what they . . . I don’t necessarily need to know what they thought about what’s going on here, but maybe I want to know what else are they listening to? What else are they watching? What are they working on? Right? I do want to know.
I felt like five years ago, I was really in touch with what my audience was creating. They were definite software engineers. They were there coding stuff, trying to figure out how to build a business. I’m not so sure who they are right now.
Nadia: But Andrew, yeah. And that’s a perfect use case for Perksy. But I also want to point out, like, you were surprised when you heard my mom was a big Mixergy fan.
Nadia: My mom’s not an entrepreneur. You just said, “Is Perksy useful to my audience?” There are folks in your audience that, like, you have no idea who they are or what they do. Like, you don’t necessarily know . . .
Andrew: I do want to know.
Nadia: Like, you just don’t know everyone that’s listening. And I think it’s important to understand and think about it this way. It’s also important for your advertisers to understand. When you’re trying to grow your podcast business and you’re like, “I want to be able to command a higher price for some of the ads that we do.” We want to be able to talk to better advertisers and let them know who’s listening.
Those advertisers care. They want the demographics. They want to know, you know, how much is that [inaudible 01:11:46].
Andrew: Do I have to come up with the questions myself?
Nadia: I mean, you can if you want, you can also have someone on your team do it, or you can pay us for service options.
Andrew: And you guys will come up with the questions. So if I have, like, how much are you guys going to charge me for questions? I’m trying to come up with questions. I’d like to come up with something.
Nadia: How is this, Andrew? Offline, we’ll, like, roll out the parameters of this, figure out what it is you’re trying to write.
Andrew: All right. So if it works, it’s going to be at mixergy.com/perksy. And you guys could experience this for yourself. See if it makes sense for your business. And if it doesn’t . . .
Nadia: I mean, for starters, just download Perksy.
Andrew: If it doesn’t download Perksy, don’t do what I did. I went to getperksy.com looking for the app. Apparently, just go to the app store. And you’ve got a lot of nice feedback on your app. I got to go. We’re definitely way over here. Wait, where is that? You’ve got a lot of nice feedback on your app.
Thousands of people have downloaded it. It’s something that people apparently are into. I thought the marketers would be into it, I didn’t think they users would be that into it. 22.6,000 ratings, 4.2 rating out of 5. It’s really good.
Nadia: So . . .
Nadia: Oh no, no, go ahead.
Andrew: Oh, that’s it. That’s all I got. All right. It’s getperksy.com or do yourself a favor, just go to the app store. That’s the part that I didn’t do before the interview. You were going to say something. I interrupted you.
Andrew: No. All right. I’m going to close it out by saying to people, look, do what Nadia did. Go to Brain.fm/mixergy. She wrote it down. She’s going to go try it. Do it. I’m telling you guys are going to love it. There’s no way, by the way, Nadia, that these guys can possibly afford to pay to sponsor me for a long time. They’re not making a lot of money per user.
I charge a lot of money for the ads. There’s as a reason why hosting services and the recruiting services, like, Toptal are buying from me. You know, one person who uses Toptal in a month, Toptal’s covered thousands of thousand dollars that we charge. Brain.fm doesn’t have that kind of model. They’re not going to be here for long.
Guys, go to brain.fm/mixergy. You’re going to love it. I’m doing this just because I think that you guys are going to really benefit from it. Do it before they stop that. Actually, I’ll probably talk about them even if they stop advertising. Let’s finally, second sponsor is a company called HostGator. Check them out at hostgator.com/mixergy. Nadia, thanks.
I’m sorry to run. Thanks for being on here.
Nadia: Thank you so much for having me, Andrew.
Andrew: You bet. Bye. Bye, everyone. We’re going to edit this in. As soon as I stopped recording, Nadia said, “Look, you want people to push back.” I’m going to push back on something. What was that thing that you pushed back on that I did?
Nadia: I was just saying that, Andrew, you started the podcast by asking three questions. And one of these questions was, like, why do brands even need Perksy?
Andrew: And I did it with an attitude, you said.
Nadia: Yeah, you totally did with an attitude. And also you asked about competition and, like, you know there are a lot of competitors out there so, you know, why this over that. And like, you didn’t circle on back to it. You didn’t . . .
Andrew: I feel like the competition we did get into. And it wasn’t intentional. I totally forgot that I brought that question up with my plan of bringing it in the conversation. We did answer that question where you were talking about how other people use the APIs, how other people are even fudging the answer.
Nadia: Oh, yes. Yeah.
Andrew: So you’re right. But that other question about why would brands even use it? The one that I came up with an attitude, I was setting up the expectation that we are going to combatively get that answer out of you and then I completely forgot to come back to that question, which also sucks for you because I’ve set it up as, like, a negative for you without giving you a chance to respond.
Nadia: But it’s not just that. I think it’s just that, you know, I’m sure folks want to hear the answer to that question. I mean.
Andrew: Yes. Especially if I’m setting it up. Yes.
Nadia: Yeah. But if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re someone who cares about learning, about how people have built things and, like, why they’re doing the things they do and, like, how they got to where they are today. And that’s a really valid question.
It’s not that it had, you know, a negative tone or anything. It’s just that if you’re going to ask a challenging question, like, you know, people probably want to hear the answer to that. And like, I guess, so your particular question . . .
Andrew: So what is the answer? Why do brands then come to you to answer these questions?
Nadia: Because we live in a world where people create products and services and spend so much money on marketing to try and get it in front of them. Just try and, like, market the shit out of them. That’s what they’re trying to do.
Nadia: We believe in a world where you can basically integrate customers into the core of that process. So for me, like, there are reasons why I don’t buy products and I think that’s important for folks to know. Like if, you know, I can’t use a certain laundry detergent because it has a chemical that I’m allergic to or something isn’t sustainable or environmentally friendly enough for me.
Brands need to know this. And also, we’re living in a world where things are moving so quickly today. So the habits, preferences, and behaviors of the mobile generation are constantly changing, especially since they’re in shifting life cycles. So like, even you, Andrew, like, what your audience wants today may not be what your audience wants tomorrow or not what they wanted five years ago.
So that’s why we built a platform, to essentially help these brands move at the speed of culture, like, what’s happening on street level and get more connected to that.
Andrew: Yeah, I definitely see that, by the way. When you talk about shifting the things are changing so fast. I think it helps to, for me, to give an example, I feel when I started doing Mixergy, entrepreneurship was more of an admired job than it is today. And somewhere entrepreneurship changed, especially tech entrepreneurship. Sorry?
Nadia: It was like catchy and cool then.
Andrew: Right. And now it’s become this thing where you’re not going to succeed against Google. And if you do succeed, you’re going to be Google or Amazon. You’re going to dominate people. So there’s no excitement for it. And instead, there’s been this excitement for influencers. Be the YouTuber, be the Instagram influencer.
And I took a little while to take those that shift seriously. And it definitely happened. And it would be important for me to recognize that so I could shift the interviewees a little bit, if not the questions and maybe the guests. So I see what you’re talking about. And so you’re saying even I would need to be aware of that. Okay. And so, I . . .
Nadia: I also just think that, like, people, you know, so you have like the Facebook situation in which people feel like their data, like their privacy has been totally violated because their data was stolen. So, like, a big part of our belief is like, “Okay, we’ll anonymize all PII, like, personally identifying information,” and you get to choose what you answer and don’t answer and what you give up and you’re going to be rewarded for it. Like, you’re literally getting paid.
Andrew: So your answer is, look, “Andrew, the reason that brands are paying for us is they need to know these shifts. They’re not going out into bars, the way that you described, because they want to understand their customers or there’s some help in that. It’s not accurate enough and it’s not fast enough and that’s why brands are coming to me.”
Nadia: So later, what I want you to do is Google the P&G, check in, like, Forbes.
Andrew: I did. I couldn’t find it. Okay. Forbes P&G.
Nadia: No, no. Do you have Forbes Marc Pritchard? So he’s the chief brand officer, P&G, and then do Perksy.
Andrew: Got it. Okay, I will do that.
Nadia: And 50 bucks says you had a typo.
Andrew: Now I got it. 100%. Let me close out by saying this. The big thing that I took away from this part of the conversation from you at the end coming in and saying, “Andrew, you told me I should push back and you want people to push back. I will.” I bring these questions up at the top of the interview because these are the big questions that I’m wondering going into the conversation.
And then if my questions change and what I’m curious about changes, I just ditch what I started out with because I don’t care about that anymore because I’ve shifted. Now I’ve understood a little bit more of those questions don’t seem relevant. Meanwhile, the audience may not have shifted.
They may actually come in looking for those questions or maybe didn’t care about anything and now those questions are on their minds and I’ve got to circle back. In the old days, I used to literally write it down with a pencil on a piece of paper that Regus used to have in the office. I don’t do that anymore. I shifted to, at some point, putting it on my Google Doc.
I don’t do that anymore because I feel like I’ve got this. I don’t need that crutch. It’s not a crutch. You absolutely right to call me out and say, “If you’re asking questions and saying they’ll be answered in the interviews, write them down or make sure to answer them within the interviews. And don’t do it in some kind of, “By the way we’ve answered it,” but make sure it’s very explicitly answered if you’re very explicitly asking the question.”
Nadia: You know me, I love my questions.
Andrew: All right. Fist bump.
Nadia: Fist bump.
Andrew: Boom. All right. Thanks for calling me out on that. Thanks for bringing it up. Thanks for doing this interview.
Nadia: Thanks [inaudible 01:19:40].
Andrew: Bye, everyone.