SMS marketing for e-commerce

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Today’s guest and his co-founder were all rejected from YC with earlier ideas. Eventually they got together and came up with the idea for SMS marketing for Shopify stores.

That idea got them into YC and eventually $40m in funding.

I want to find out how he did it. Alex Beller is the founder of Postscript, SMS marketing for growing Shopify stores.

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Alex Beller

Alex Beller

Postscript

Alex Beller is the founder of Postscript, SMS marketing for growing Shopify stores.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. One of my listeners and friends is a guy named Devin Meadows, and he’s got an online store and he said, Andrew, you got to check out this thing postscript.

In fact, I want to introduce you to the founder. I love it. It’s helping my business grow. You should go and interview the founder. And so we put out an email to the founder of postscript, which does SMS marketing, uh, for e-commerce Alex Beller. And this has been weeks and weeks and weeks in the making to have him on here.

And I’m so glad to have him on because, um, the business is not just helping Devin, but I went to Shopify to see what their reviews are. It’s just unbelievable positive reviews for this thing. And so I want to understand how he did it and, uh, how we got here. And we could do a thanks to two phenomenal sponsors.

The first, if you need hosting for your website, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. And the second, if you need to hire a developer, go hire them from top towel and use a URL top tile.com/mixergy. But I’ll talk about those later, Alex. Good to have you here. First.

Alex: Great to be here. Thanks for having me, Andrew.

Andrew: I know humility is one of your core values. You told me that before we got started, do you feel comfortable though saying what your revenue is?

How big the businesses?

Alex: Uh, I, I don’t however, um, as a directional point, uh, postscript is that we’re at eight figures of, of ARR midnight figures.

Andrew: so we’re gonna say over $10 million annual recurring revenue, bootstrapped

Alex: Not bootstrapped Um, postscript has, yeah, we, uh, we started off bootstrap shaft, like everyone does and on a complete flyer. And when we unexpectedly got into Y Combinator.

um, and that really like put us on the venture fundraising paths, we were definitely not bootstrapped.

Andrew: How much have you taken,

Alex: Uh, at this point we’ve raised a little over $40 million. Uh, the last round, uh, was just a couple of months ago in February. Greylock led our series B.

Andrew: you know what, I’m so surprised that Y Combinator would take you in, it doesn’t feel like a Y Combinator company. I mean, frankly, it does in the sense that it’s maybe too, too small to be a Y Combinator idea, right. A plugin for Shopify, but in many ways, I guess they do like these ideas that are too small to be considered real businesses.

Alex: Yeah, it is. So you’re, you’re onto it. Uh, there’s a couple things that stand out, like from the early journey around, around that point. So the three of us were, uh, I have two co-founders, so I’m certainly not the founder. And in fact, the two of them are probably more accountable for, for us getting our start than I, um, but the three of us were relatively on pedigreed.

We’d all worked in tech in small ways, but none of us were in San Francisco. None of us had like connections to investors or capital. And so in fact, all of us had been rejected from Y Combinator previously

Andrew: with different ideas.

Alex: with different ideas.

Andrew: What

Alex: And not together as a group. Uh, so, um, I submitted with a friend, uh, maybe in 2014, an idea, uh, like an affiliate Mart, affiliate marketing play.

Um, I was trying to, I was very inspired by What the wire cutter was doing, and I was interested in building the wire cutter for other verticals. And that was certainly not a Y Combinator idea?

and got

Andrew: it’s more media.

Alex: yes, and, and not scalable technology. And that was, that was rejected as it should have been. And my two co-founders are brothers, Adam and Colin Turner, and they were previously rejected for a company that they started called Wiglets.

It was an early mobile gaming play, and it actually grew to about a hundred thousand users, but never really monetized and was a really nice, healthy entrepreneurship failure story.

Andrew: do you recognize that you’re kind of holding back? Laughter your nostrils are flaring holding back. Laughter. As you’re talking about your idea, I, I think it has legs, but I understand why you, why you think the Y Combinator wouldn’t take it. You know what? I don’t know that I could say that you’re not pedigree.

You work for a company that I fricking love stack commerce. I interviewed the co-founder of the company or is it the founder? I don’t. I call everyone a founder, even if they’re a co-founder this was a brilliant freaking idea. I still go to dig.com on a regular basis to check out their news stories, because I think they curate interesting news stories that I wouldn’t otherwise look at every once in a while, they’ll say you can buy this thing and they report on it like a, like a news story.

And then it takes me over to their store, which I think is still hosted on stack commerce. Right?

Alex: it is stuck. Commerce has built when I say we aren’t pedigreed stack commerce is bootstrapped. It’s LA-based it wasn’t a traditional, like high-flying tech story and Josh CEO, who who’s a friend. He. Was always much more focused on building the business than he was on, like going out and getting press. And so they actually sold in December, uh, and they had a good exit after like nine or 10 years.

Um, and, and really, I mean those nine or 10 years, Josh and the early team, just grinding and building a really healthy e-commerce business. That to your point is pretty unique, like leveraging media and media traffic in order to build branded e-commerce destinations, that was novel. And that was like long before Affiliate commerce became an accepted mainstream tenant of, of media revenue.

Andrew: Affiliate was always like this scummy underground of the internet. You accepted people made money with it, but they didn’t get any kind of respect for it. But the other brilliant thing that he did was he didn’t need to have his name and his brand brief front and center. It took me a while to figure out how to dig.

I think in gadget or maybe it was a Gizmodo was using them. It took me a while to figure out how did they do it? Did they create their own store? Are they now shipping out product? Do they want that agita? No, it was, it was European.

Alex: They did not want that Ouachita. I love that by the way. And it’s true. Yeah. They, uh, I w actually my role was going to those publishers and making deals with them, which I loved doing. I loved working with publishers. And so folks like dig and, and gadget and, uh, you know, Mashable and Gizmodo, those were actually deals that I worked on.

And the story was, advertising revenue is like probably declining. You’re competing with Facebook and Google more and more and more. We can offer you an affiliate commerce solution, but one where you actually keep the LTV of your users and you keep their data, as opposed to just pushing off to Amazon where all the repeat purchases, you don’t get a piece of.

And that.

was compelling. It worked.

Andrew: they didn’t even remark it on their own stack exchange.

Alex: We remarketed on behalf of the publishers back to the same destination. So if you buy from Digg, we’re going to market you back to dig And dig continues to make money from it.

Andrew: Uh, I should say it was called stack commerce and I think they changed it to stack social. Right.

Alex: or the other way around it was stack social. They changed it to stack

Andrew: Ah, okay.

Alex: but you do know the story. This

Andrew: I’m fascinated by the business, such a great business. And you know, what else I like about it is. The pages just looked so elegant. It just made sense. You felt really good being on their sales pages. It didn’t feel like an aggressive, ugly sales process, which frankly, Amazon too.

They’ve done great. But their pages do feel a little bit, I don’t know, low buck. All right. You’ve learned a lot there. What did you learn from stack commerce from working there?

Alex: I learned a lot, um, One of the coolest things about being there?

that really stood out to me was that we weren’t caught up in a hype cycle. Uh, stuck commerce was always under the radar. It was always about like growing top line revenue at a healthy margin. That was the focus of the business. That’s like what I was held accountable for.

And sometimes that gets missed in tech, right. It, it does oftentimes that isn’t the emphasis. And as that was my first job, I dropped out of school and that was the first role I took. Um, and I stayed there for five or six years. That’s just, what I got trained in was like not chasing user growth, not chasing traffic growth, but chasing revenue growth and consistent revenue growth year over year.

And so that like overall business building framework has been incredibly important. And the other thing it taught me a lot of was. Uh, was sales and partnerships. I mean, I got really, really comfortable doing everything from like cold outreach to meetings and like long, hard sales cycles, like convincing CNN that they should open a branded storefront is like that take that took two years.

Andrew: you did

Alex: And I did that and I had great support from the team and from the people at CNN, but it took two years.

And so then when it came to startup postscript, you know, I had no fear of going and engaging people cold about a crazy idea, like text messaging that they hadn’t thought of.

Andrew: And so when you’re going two years before you close a sale, how does commission work?

Alex: Uh, let’s just say it’s a good thing. If my pipeline isn’t dependent on one deal, it’s, it’s good. If I have deals closing every

Andrew: but then eventually you leave. Do you get the ongoing commission from CNN? Because if you’re working two years and then say on the, on two and a half years in you leave what happens?

Alex: I would make a percentage of income from the stores, um, that I closed for. Uh, sometimes it was half a year. Other times it was like the first year that they were onboard.

Andrew: got it. So even if you leave or you need to stay there at

Alex: No, actually when I left it wound down and I don’t, I don’t begrudge Josh, but if you want to shoot him an email

Andrew: That might be one that he’ll, he’ll not respond to. All right. And so one of the things that worked for you was partnering up with these bigger brands who would then write basically they would write content about these, uh, the products that were being sold. And then the other thing you told our producer was email was working for you.

You do ongoing regular email to bring people back and have them buy more. And then at some point you said, email, wasn’t working as much as it did before.

Alex: yeah. That follows the macro trends of the internet. Right. And like the mid aughts, what we were seeing is just that email engagement seemed to. Plateau. And then maybe even it seemed to decline a little bit year over year. And at the same time, mobile traffic, as a percentage of overall shopping traffic was just increasing every single year, right.

People were more and more engaging in buying on their phones as opposed to their desktop computers. And so those two trends were very interesting and I mean, they’ve informed everything. We built a postscript. I think they’ve been, they’ve been fueled

Andrew: did you guys back there, um, at stack commerce start to do SMS text-based messaging, or were you doing other things you did not,

Alex: no, we did not We were, uh, we were focused on the business as it was, we were not doing other stuff. We’re not doing SMS.

Andrew: not even browser alerts.

Alex: w that’s right. We were doing desktop push alerts.

but it was never a big channel. Um, it never really, that never really took hold in a big way.

Andrew: Okay. And so you leave and then how does the idea come to you? That that’s going to be the thing first you try, I’m assuming first you say, Hey, you know what? I think we could create wire cutter for other products where we review and then people buy, by the way, that’s still a great idea. I’ve interviewed people.

Who’ve had that idea. I’ve interviewed some people who on the side have even done that. And I’ve asked me not to bring it up in the interview. And since it was a little off topic, I’m fine with it. It does work, right? Lawn care is a big expense that some people still do not lawn care, uh, backyard furniture and backyard products, right?

Alex: It’s a great

Andrew: costs. They’ll still ship and people want to evaluate it before they get it. So it’s a great idea. You thought about that, that didn’t go anywhere. Right? And then you try to you, I’m assuming you tried a couple of other ideas. What was your process for finding the next thing.

Alex: So I was, uh, I left stock commerce and I was consulting, uh, for, for a few different places. Um, and I thought that actually what I wanted at the time was like the freedom that came with being a consultant. Right. I thought that I wanted to travel a bit and to work remotely, et cetera. And. What I realized instead is that I wanted to start something.

I wanted to found my own thing. And I actually wasn’t trying to escape the intensity. I was just trying to have it on my own terms. And at the time of a good friend of mine who had worked with at set commerce, Adam Turner, who is my co-founder, he reached out to me and him and his brother were working on a variety of different ideas, right?

To your point, they were trying, uh, they built like a Salesforce app and, uh, that, that didn’t really go anywhere. And, um, and they’d had the idea that like, should we try like a SMS marketing app for Shopify? And the vision was really, really small. It was like still at the idea stage, they were just starting to code it.

And, uh, it was inspired by a friend who essentially was saying like, Hey, I run this lifestyle business on Shopify and I don’t have a way to text my customers. that’s like a pretty discrete problem. All right. That’s a very specific thing. And so at the time we were interested in building things, small internet businesses, right.

Set and forget stuff. Uh, and because of the built-in distribution of the Shopify app store, we thought, Ooh, maybe we’ll solve this little problem for Shopify merchants and we’ll have built in distribution and it’s B2B, so we can make money off it. And maybe we’ll each make a few thousand dollars a month.

Wouldn’t that be like fun and something to be proud of. And we pursued it this, and we started, I started trying to talk to a few customers and we got the first version of the app and really right away when we launched it in August of, or we launched it early September of 2018, right away, some merchants, some e-commerce merchants came out of the woodwork and they signed up and they paid us without talking to

Andrew: From the app store.

Alex: From the app

Andrew: Yeah.

Alex: they paid us 25 or $50 a month without speaking to us. And that was really interesting, right? Like immediately it was like, oh, we are actually, even though the app was horrible at the time, it was like very broken. And like there was a lot to

Andrew: did it do?

Alex: it. Uh, it did two very simple things.

If I’m really to sum it up, it sinked with like the data within your e-commerce storefront so that you could segment out your customer base and then it would let you send text messages to them in two forms, one through a campaign message or a broadcast, right? Hey, it’s the 4th of July buyer, 4th of July special or an automation flow, which is like an abandoned cart message based on a trigger for the user.

Andrew: okay.

Alex: And it was very bare bones And that was it

Andrew: And it was using Shopify as database of existing customers. Not of people who’d signed up for an email newsletter or something.

Alex: It was I’m I’m simplifying. It was, uh, there was ways that you could like build your opt-in list of

Andrew: Got it. Okay. All right. Twilio I’m assuming is the backend.

Alex: Twilio was the backend. Yes.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And so that alone was working for you and you, how long did it take you to build that?

Alex: Uh, took us and I mean, Adam and Colin were doing the heavy lifting, uh, about three months. And then there was a month of review where we waited to be approved by the Shopify app store.

Andrew: Adam worked at stack commerce. Also. He was a product manager there dev their developers, both he and his brother. Right.

Alex: They’re they’re the best they’re self-taught developers. Adam they’re really both like data and solutions architects and Adam was teaching himself backend. Colin knew some basic front end and together they like hacked the first couple of versions of the app. And Colin really built the, or Adam really built the backend for several years

Andrew: So no offense, Alex, but what did you do then if they’re building it in that, in that period?

Alex: I’m worthy of that offense. Um, so I was going out and try and talk to customers because even though SMS marketing is very mainstream now with an e-commerce at the time, no one was doing it. I mean, it was marketers reacted to it from a place of fear. They were like, oh, this is going to annoy my customers.

There’s no way I was going to do it. And we want to beta testers. So I was reaching out through my network. I was trying to find new customers to come in. I was trying to help with distribution. I was making sure like marketing site was ready and that like our app store page was ready. And once we stood up the website and we started getting some users and we got listed in the app store, I also just talked to customers all day.

Right. We put live chat on the site and live chat in the app and I would help them out and I would report bugs. And, uh, I was the customer facing one.

Andrew: middle of the night of call would come through. Our chat would come through. You’d wake up and do it and handle it.

Alex: Yup. Every single time the, uh, we rigged Twilio Because

we’re good at Twilio. We rig Toledo to call our cell phones. If someone chatted in and we would take turns and someone would wake up or drop what they were doing and go help that person.

Andrew: Because

Alex: Not only because we were just so excited that people actually wanted to interact with something we’d built.

But also because I mean, we were honored and flustered by it, but also because we were trying to learn, that was the biggest thing is like we didn’t have product market fit at the time. We didn’t know exactly what customers wanted to use this product for. We were outsiders in this space and we were still learning.

And by just listening to our customers, we would hear consistent themes about product requests, about bugs. They were experiencing about UX issues. And just for a long time, our customers through the live chat drove our product roadmap. They were just like, what was the loudest thing? And then we would go build that or fix that.

And it was a feedback loop.

Andrew: Very much the 37 signals getting real approach of you don’t need some kind of Kanban board to keep track of how many requests you’re getting. You don’t need anything sophisticated. If you’re in there every day, the P you get a feel for what’s coming in the loudest, even throw out. I think their suggestions, they said,

Alex: Yup.

Andrew: okay.

And so that’s what you were doing, what’s off. Would you use by the way to get the chat that’s coming in?

Alex: Yeah, we were using drift, uh, and we eventually moved over to Intercom,

Andrew: What’d you like about drift?

Alex: uh, that it was very easy to set up and get going and that it was free because at the time we had no money.

Andrew: Drift eventually shifted to a very expensive product. I didn’t realize they had a free period. I think of them as a very expensive product with a lot of automation triggers, but you weren’t looking for that. You just wanted anything that would pop up that little window on the right corner. And then how would you make it so that people would call you?

Would you, how would you let them talk to you?

Alex: Yeah. We used the, uh, we use Zapier to connect a new conversation in drift, uh, to Twilio And then we set it up so that Twilio would like place a call to all three of our cell phones at once.

Andrew: And then they would come, but drift didn’t have a voice feature.

Alex: No, no, no, it wasn’t a call that we could answer and talk to the customer. It was just an alert. And then we would log

Andrew: it, and then somebody needs to go in and on their phone and start chatting back with their thumbs. Got it. It was, oh, you just need an alert. Somebody is coming in because drift didn’t have some kind of wow. Notification. That’s crazy. Did you have any relationships at the time?

Alex: Did we have

Andrew: You, did you have any relationships with you dating somebody at the time?

Who would then go, Alex? What is this?

Alex: I was dating someone. Yeah. And she was, she re I’m still with her today and she was a great sport about it and she remains a great sport about it. Very

Andrew: Wow. Okay. What are some of the features that came in that you didn’t expect feature requests that came in?

Alex: Oh geez. You know, in?

retrospect they seem so obvious, which just speaks to how naive we were. People wanted analytics. They wanted to understand if it was making them money,

Andrew: Oh, am I sending this out or people who are getting it coming back and buying? Yeah. That, of course that makes sense, but, right, right.

Alex: They wanted more tools to be able to build their list faster or their list of SMS subscribers when they would see how high the open rates and the click rates and the engagement where they would say, make this opportunity bigger for me, please. So we would have to build pop-ups And different collection tools that could like with one click show up on someone’s Shopify instance.

Um, that was a big part. People wanted more data. They wanted us to pull in even more data from their Shopify instance. They wanted better segmentation. They wanted the ability to respond. That was a huge one in the beginning. If a customer texted back, we didn’t surface it in the app anywhere. It was one way messaging and people said, I want to see what people are saying back to me.

So we surface that and made it two way.

Andrew: And you know what a lot of people still don’t do that. It’s still very one way you get the alert and that’s it. All right. I’m going to talk about my first sponsor. And then I’m gonna come back in and ask you, what, what made you guys apply to YC? If this thing was working first sponsor is a company called HostGator.

Alex, usually in these whole skater ads, I ask a guest for an idea for what somebody could create if they had a HostGator account. But let me ask you this, let me run this by you. If somebody says, you know what, I don’t want a venture backed business. I just want a lifestyle business that will allow me to generate some revenue and get something going some momentum for me.

What do you think about the idea of taking the Wirecutter model, which is we’re going to evaluate every single whatever within this space, and then tell you, which is the best and link you out to Amazon within affiliate commission. What if somebody were to say, I’m going to evaluate, uh, and they pick a topic and, and then link out to that.

Does that still work?

Alex: I think that absolutely still works. There’s a huge amount of affiliate commerce online. There’s, uh, people covering many different sectors, but the UX and the clarity and the quality of writing that wire cutter brings is a differentiator. I think that business model absolutely still works.

Andrew: you’re right. You know what I’ve got to say. They clearly highlight. Here’s the one that we want and why, and then if you’re geeky enough afterwards and not, if you, but most people, when they’re geekier, after you get your answer, it’s like, why did you come up with that? And what else, what other shades of differences do I need to be aware of?

They come in with that. You’re right. So follow that model. I wonder if there’s a topic that people can can think about. I keep saying drones is a good one because there’s a lot of analysis that goes into which drone should you buy. Um, and maybe there, you would do analysis based on the need, but we’d look, we, I would find something where there’s ongoing need.

Maybe like. Uh, for parents, you get a new baby. You’re constantly thinking about which diapers do I get? Which, uh, reusable diapers do I get? Which holder? What is it called? Um, the carrier. Do I get, which stroller do I get? Right, baby one would be a good one. What else? Anything? That’s a major life change.

People are going to look out. What are you thinking?

Alex: W what? Uh, one that always stood out to me and this came to me more recently was actually like, If you think about like the baby boomers are aging and they’re just like, they’re, they’re getting older, right. My parents are transitioning into retirement and that whole generation is huge, but they’re online shoppers, which the generation before them wasn’t and I think there’s going to be, my dad uses wire cutter.

I think there’s going to be an opportunity for like a huge opportunity in this space around like elder care products, like everything there, because it’s also, it’s a customer base that like refreshes often as people age into that group. And it requires a different set of products. Just like you were saying with parenting.

Andrew: Yeah, anytime that somebody goes, goes through a big transition, they’re doing research and they’re open to new ideas and they don’t have that internal momentum. Alright. Listen to people, whether it’s that idea or anything else, if you want to run with it, you go to hostgator.com/mixergy. You’ll get great reliable service.

And you know, it’s reliable because my site is built on it. Go test it out for yourself and see how you like it. And it’s an expensive. And in fact, if you use my URL, you’re going to get a lower price than other people do. Again, that URL is hostgator.com/mixergy. There’s an easy idea to run with, but whatever your ideas they’ll help you host it.

Right. Why did you Alex decide to go to Y Combinator?

Alex: uh, it was a way, um, we’d all been rejected before. So our expectations were very, very low, but we were making revenue, Andrew. We were like, we had revenue the first month recurring revenue and the second month we had more, it was growing and growing. And so. I thought, okay, this is the seed of something. It was really exciting.

We had customers talking to us all day long and you know, we started with $50 in revenue and then maybe the next, it was 200. And then the next week it was 800. So it just felt we were growing. And I said, okay, I know it’s a flier. I know the odds are really low, but I’d done a bunch of research. It turns out why he tells you exactly how to get in.

They like put it all in videos and blog posts. It’s all there done a bunch of research. And we had a, we had a balanced team of three people with very different strengths, including some technical strengths. We had early traction, right. We were making money and. It seemed like we were helping customers with a need of theirs.

And that’s like the basic pieces, so decided to apply. And we did it and we got invited for an interview, which was shocking. And then Andrew, we went to a work like we reached out to people on Twitter. We just found humans who used to go through YC. And we probably did 12 or 15 mock interviews. And the week leading up to our interview at Y Combinator, just to like go through the experience and drill and I would record them all and listen back and we would take notes and like analyze our answers.

And we would know who was going to answer what sort of question. And, uh, we went in there for our interview and were nervous. We were outside. I was having the three of us do improv exercises to calm down. Cause I used to do a lot of improvisation and we go in there and they were asking us really hard questions.

It’s an intense 10 minutes where they just fire questions at you. And they were questioning us on whether all this is just spam and annoying and bad, they were questioning us on, uh, on how are we going to deal with competition. They’re questioning us. And if we, if it’s defensible at all, they’re questioning us on if there’s platform risks from focusing on just Shopify stores, but we held it together.

And I mean, in general, I think to your point, why commentator doesn’t necessarily love marketing technology, but, uh, because there tend not to be network effects, but as we were leaving, we felt pretty good. And one of the partners came out to ask us one more question. And we were like, oh, we got it. We got it.

Like they were interested enough to follow us out and keep asking us one more

Andrew: What was this question that he had there? She had to come and ask you.

Alex: Jeez. I, I don’t remember. Um, but I should remember. I don’t remember. And that night we got a call and we’d been accepted.

Andrew: You know what? There are, there’s no Mo um, network effect, but there is lock-in right. It’s really hard to take phone numbers and go to a different provider harder than it is to switch. Say from MailChimp to someone else.

Alex: So I actually think that it’s a little bit easier right now. And the reason is because of the creative. So SMS is still so early as being adopted as a marketing channel that how most marketers tend to approach it is very, very, very simple to do a couple of bare bones things with it, or emails 25 years in it’s built out.

There’s more complexities. Each piece of creative is a full HTML template and that’s much more work to migrate than just, I mean, a text is only text, maybe an image.

Andrew: that’s true. We are. Our biggest issue is switching is tagging. Like you, you have all this in this built-in understanding of people’s history over the last 10 years with your email, it’s hard to switch that out. Um, all right. Um, what about competition? I was thinking about that. I still don’t think that MailChimp, the first name that comes to mind when, when there’s email marketing mentioned, I still don’t think that they do

Alex: No, they still don’t. Uh, they bought a texting company a few months ago, so maybe it’s coming. Um, they still don’t. And I think it’s very early for text. Like, as I think about the market in email, there’s probably been like $50 billion email companies over time, maybe more in every segment and corner and world.

And in SMS really thus far, it’s like there’s Twilio, there’s the API layer that’s been built out. And so I think it’s still very early, but with any commerce where we play, we focus on e-commerce. It’s very competitive. It’s an extremely competitive

Andrew: SMS is there’s enough competition there now. Wow.

Alex: obscenely competitive, very there’s many players in it with deep pockets.

And, uh, and it’s a tough space for sure.

Andrew: I think the biggest one is Klayvio they have their own SMS MailChimp. You’re right. I did a search for MailChimp SMS. And what they talk about is their integration with a different company Klayvio is big in this space.

Alex: Klaviyo’s huge.

Andrew: And so how do you, how do you take on people who do so much more than just SMS?

Alex: We focus and we hold ourselves to a standard of excellence for the one thing that we do, right? It’s a marketers, especially e-commerce marketers who are super advanced. They want really rich features. They have really high standards for deliverability and feature set and data segmentation. And by focusing on SMS, it gives us an advantage against the omni-channel players, because the two channels are fundamentally different.

Like there’s overlap, right? You might send in a band party, Moni bites in the band cart, text message. But fundamentally texting is two way. Like people respond and they want engagement there. And if you’re sending one way texts one after another, just like people do want an email, the person’s going to unsubscribe, you’re wasting money.

It’s horribly inefficient marketing. So

Andrew: have thought that just one way would still would get you maybe 75% of the way there. And the other 25% is, will you respond? But you’re saying no, that people will unsubscribe. If it’s one way messages,

Alex: not like black or white, but unsubscribed rates are substantially higher unfairly one-way messages.

Andrew: a clear expectation. You’re either going to respond to me, or I think that you’re spam. And I’m going to start thinking about getting rid of you.

Alex: And we’re seeing that expectation grow. And so look, we, uh, it’s funny, you mentioned Klayvio we love Klayvio, we’ve looked up to them for a long time as someone who’s built an incredible product for, for e-commerce companies. Uh, but we’re focused on the two way channel and we see that as our long-term

Andrew: I get that. What about this though? That they do need to work hand in hand that the email that you send out and the text messaging that you send out either needs to be the same or needs to be aware of each other or else it feels like you’re spamming me. Right. How do you do that? How do you handle that?

Alex: Through integrations, we’ve been really, really focused on integrations from the start, because in e-commerce that’s what customers want. They don’t want to reply to people’s texts inside postscript. They want it in their help desk. right.

They wanted their gorgeous or theirs end desk account. And so we’ve been building integrations from the start.

We building our API from the start to facilitate integrations and we have a great integration with Klayvio that passes a lot of the data back and forth that you’re describing for merchants who use both. And so that’s how we view like that problem. And that’s where we’re going to keep investing.

Long-term we’re very, very bullish on integrations.

Andrew: I invested in many chat, they were focused on chat, vere, um, uh, messaging apps like ma like Facebook messenger and Instagram now, um, they added SMS and I could see how it’s not comparable because you’re much more feature rich, but then they started adding email and I could see how that’s a natural for them to say, look, if you’re going to send a text message within this flow, why not add email?

And when I look at all the email competitors, how many entrepreneurs, that interview who made killings in email, who keep continuing to grow? I wonder is that the next step to, for postscript to focus on email while you can’t say focus on email addition to is SMS, but to be the email company too,

Alex: Not us. And maybe if you asked me a year from now, I’ll have a different reply, but right now, no, that’s the honest, that’s the honest answer, because we think that texting is the next email. We think it’s still very early days, but it is going to be 10 years from now the dominant marketing channel. And by focusing on it, we’ve just found.

Over and over like compounding advantage. And we also look at email and we say, you know what? Email for Shopify email for e-commerce, that’s solved. Cleevio solved it. It’s an incredible product, great team like that. That’s assault entity. And it’s like, you’re asking me five years ago, it’s dot commerce. I was seeing email peak or even starts to decline.

And so as we look forward to the next decade and beyond, which is how we tend to operate this business, we want to focus on where we think it’s going. Not necessarily where legacy demand

Andrew: And do you think it’s going to SMS as opposed to say Facebook messenger and WhatsApp?

Alex: I do because of the platform risk. SMS is like email. That’s an owned, it’s an open protocol. It’s not owned by anyone. And if you ask any e-commerce merchant, the regular changes that Facebook makes to their algorithms to organic reach to their ad platforms. And even to the rules they have around messaging, it’s hard to deal with.

And it’s onerous, you’re on rented land where SMS is owned. You’re not on rented land and you own that channel. And so because of that, we think that it is, it has much longer legs than the others. And even if you look at things today, like, uh, I look at the international markets around WhatsApp and that’s really interesting, right?

Because internationally people don’t text, they use WhatsApp or, or, or whatever, but there’s rules around WhatsApp. Right now, what’s that prohibits any marketing use cases. So if you’re a brand, you can only send a message out to a user on WhatsApp. If that user has messaged you in the last 24 hours, that would erase like 95% of the value people get from postscript right now.

So maybe that rule will change, but when you’re working on it on a platform on a platforms land, you just take on risk. And we liked that about SMS.

Andrew: and truthfully Facebook’s platform risk is, is way, way bigger than I think any other big company, because they are notorious for disregarding the developers on their platform for their own self-interest. Um, and you saying, look, we don’t want to be on these platforms as a way of diversifying or enhancing our service.

We’re just gonna focus on SMS, focus on e-commerce and that’s it. You’re much more likely to say let’s add WooCommerce than you are to say, let’s accept that WhatsApp is a way to position. What do you think about the difference between WooCommerce and Shopify? I’ve been trying to think about like, in my audience, who’s using WooCommerce for Shopify.

Why would someone prefer WooCommerce? It feels to me like people prefer WooCommerce when they want to do a lot of customization or when they want to do, um, Like, uh, like a lot of different sites, a lot of e-commerce right.

Alex: That’s fair. I also think that someone from the Wu commerce community will probably have a better answer than me here because I’m so immersed in Shopify. I have to be honest. Um, I mean we find the Shopify product to be outstanding and a fit for, for many, many, many entrepreneurs and business owners, but perhaps because it’s meant to be Shopify is meant to be so easy to use and so easy to get started and a great way for entrepreneurs to build.

I don’t think it’s necessarily made to be the ultimate customized stack. Like I think WooCommerce is, I mean, WooCommerce is very open source it’s uh, and I think there’s some different DNA there.

Andrew: all right. I’m going to talk about my second sponsor. I’m actually gonna pitch it to you, Alex. Alex, imagine if you decide that you wake up tomorrow and you say, you know what? I talked to Andrew, I kind of dismissed this WhatsApp. There’s something new in the news. I don’t know if we need it. I don’t want to divert our developers and move them to WhatsApp.

But if we could get somebody who could integrate with us or create a little app for our us to experiment, that would be great. But how do we do it? We don’t want to divert our people. We don’t want to hire somebody who is a WhatsApp person only to fire them a few months later when we decided to not for us.

Well, that’s a perfect case to go to top tab, because when you go to top towel, you can say, here’s our need. We need somebody who’s doing this WhatsApp. We know that this thing is new, but obviously there’s been some development on the WhatsApp platform and definitely on the phone, Facebook chat platforms, find someone who’s done something similar to what we’re looking for.

Here’s how we operate. Here’s our framework here is a time of day that we’re about right. Here’s how here’s our culture. Find someone like that. And then let’s see if we can get started with them next week. And top-down, we’ll go. And often they’ll say, Alex, sorry, we don’t have this person that you’re looking for, but they’ll also often come back and say, we do, here are two people that we think are a good cultural fit, a good technical fit.

And they’ve done the work that you’re looking to hire for. Here you go talk to them and if you want to hire them, you can often get started right away. That’s where top towel really shines. And I say them names so fast that I could actually, in my mind’s eye, Alex, see the transcription service, turning it into towel or top towel or something.

It’s top isn’t top of your head, talent and talent. T O P T a l.com. And if you use my URL, you’ll get 80 hours of developer credit. When you pay for your first 80 hours, in addition to a no risk trial period, really they’re looking for a match that makes sense for you. And the first step is to just call them up, talk to matters, see if they’ve got someone, no obligation.

And then if you do sign up again, they’ll also protect your downside risks. So here it is, top talent.com/mixergy. Alex thought that away in your head, I’m curious to see if you’ll end up working with them. All right. Um, You know the question I was asking you earlier about why Y Combinator, I meant it different than you took it.

I meant like, what do you need? Y Combinator you’re on the right track. You started out with this idea of starting a bunch of small, uh, small apps. This one thing took off. Why not just continue and continue and continue instead of taking on funding from them and others

Alex: Sure. Well, it was very exciting.

Andrew: there is that prestige, which frankly, it’s, it’s prestigious and it’s earned in the sense that, um, I’ve got a friend Paul, Hans, who I met years ago, he got into Y Combinator, right? Even when he has non Y Combinator projects, he’ll go into that community and say, I’m looking for this. I need that. Boom. He had a family issue.

He needed somebody because these people think on such a different level than other people. He had support for his family issue that he couldn’t have gotten from any other community because people don’t care that much. And they’re not smart enough to solve the problem. So I get the, I get that. But as a business owner, you don’t need it.

Alex: Well, let me tell you, so things have changed a little bit since when we first applied, right. We’d gone through our first black Friday and it was still just the three of us. And we were still working part-time like nights and weekends. Right. We still full-time in our other jobs, but postscript was up to $18,000 in MRR and we’d gotten accepted to Y Combinator, but even so.

Th that’s what has happened over the last few months, right? We’ve been growing from 800 a month to 2000 to 4,000 to 7,000. We were growing and we wanted to leave our jobs and focus on this. We were starting to wrap our heads around the size of the opportunity. And we were also, you know, even though you were like, no, I know, I know SAC commerce, we, the lack of pedigree that I mentioned before you saw Y Combinator as a bucket list, like a fun, exciting thing to do.

Right. Amazing for people, uh, that work in tech, but also none of us were part of Silicon valley. And when it became obvious to us, the size of the opportunity, that’s when, okay. Should we think about fundraising, which would let us move faster. It would let us leave our jobs. It would let us focus on this.

Full-time it would let us maybe hire some folks or just chase this big idea. And we’re getting so much validation from the market. That became interesting, but between the three of us, we didn’t know a single investor, right. We could not have been less connected to that world. And what is Y Combinator really good at and really built for is helping young startups fundraise.

So at that point, the calculus had just changed for us where it wasn’t an interesting little bootstrap idea anymore. It was, oh, this might be really big. And that, uh, that paired with like us getting in and realizing how much we could learn and maybe how much faster it could help us grow. it.

made sense.

We were unanimous

Andrew: What did you learn from them beyond the, the introduction to investors? What else did you get? Yeah.

Alex: We learned, we learned a lot about fundraising. We learned a lot about, uh, the importance of focus early on and like what actions are good versus bad. Like we obsessively talk to customers. We obsessive, we built. What they asked for and built for customers. We were fearless about raising our prices, which was something that was really scary for us, but YC encouraged us to do, and it totally worked.

And, um, w we also learned a lot about like, how they think about markets and how they think about things like competition, which, which helped us like YC C was always the partners we worked at, um, who Tim Brady was. The one we worked with the most, uh, Tim Brady was like a source of calm for us where we would say, oh, Klayvio just announced.

They’re going to do SMS. Oh no, we’re, we’re dead in the water. And he would be a source of calm, you know, saying they’re a really big company. It’s probably going to take them like a year and a half to like, get their first product out. And like, it might take even longer. And so focusing on growth and focusing on our customers is really the mindset that we got from YC.

Andrew: yeah. You told our producer, you used to, when you heard a competitor was coming in or somebody would rag on you in comparison to somebody else, you take it personally.

Alex: Sure

Andrew: Wow. How personally he would distract you.

Alex: Yeah. Is something that I’ve worked hard to get better at, but we’re in a really competitive space. And in the early days it would throw us off our game a little bit When we didn’t know anyone in e-commerce Andrew, and we would meet someone who’s like really important in e-commerce or is all connected.

And they would say to us, they would say, oh, you guys are doing SMS. You don’t stand a chance is going to crush you. They have all the connections, they have all the money, they have all the whatever. And we would hear that a lot and it would, it would bum us out. We would say, oh, I thought we were onto a good thing. I’m proud to say like several of those companies are now out of business and there’s still others who are like around and kicking and are doing great. But, uh, that turned out to be more fear than reality.

Andrew: When you say they taught you how to think about markets, you just brought something that I never heard anyone say before, about a Y Combinator experience. What do you mean? How do they think about markets that we do? No. No,

Alex: What’s a way to say this elegantly, um, boil it down. So have you heard the saying that like first-time founders obsessed about product and second time founders obsess about distribution? I think YC pushes that idea of distribution early for, for naive first time founders, right? How are you going to get distribution? How are you going to penetrate this market?

How can you grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, because growth heals all. And so, you know, now we hear from, um, now it’s much more commonplace to build on Shopify than it was when we started. And that’s because it’s like a proven distribution channel and it’s a great platform and ecosystem to build in similar to what Salesforce was.

10 years ago. And I think YC got that and connected the dots on that. Maybe before we, we did where they saw our growth, they saw how much we were growing from word of mouth within this closed ecosystem. And they said, oh, this is like a burgeoning ecosystem. That’s growing really fast. And if you solve a specific need within it, you can build a billion dollar business.

Um, and so, you know, they were very encouraging of us focusing on this core customer and not prioritizing, broadening out or going multi-platform just because it was working. And we were talking to customers and we were growing. And so like keeping that as our north star versus like trying to solve a problem that didn’t exist.

Like w we, weren’t not growing because we aren’t available on WooCommerce.

Andrew: That wasn’t holding you back,

Alex: It wasn’t holding us back. So don’t focus on it.

Andrew: but then if Shopify platform is enough, what else can you do on a Shopify platform? I don’t think there’s to this day sell ads, right? You can’t buy premium placement the way you could in the app store of the, the iOS app store. Right. So what else can you do there?

Alex: Uh, well, the ecosystem is broad. The Shopify app store is, is good and meaningful, but that is not the place where we mostly grow from. Uh, really it’s a reflection of the personality of e-commerce. So e-commerce merchants and vendors and operators. Right? I know, you know, a lot of them, a lot of them like speak to one another there’s huge community and huge word of mouth in e-commerce and we’ve grown very quickly, mostly through word of mouth, through folks having a good experience on postscript and then same to their friends who run stores.

Hey, you need to check out this new product. And so we’ve grown through word of mouth. We’ve grown through agency partnerships. We’ve grown through developer partnerships. We’ve grown through the app store. We’ve gone through, you know, things like outbound efforts, uh,

Andrew: I saw you guys do online courses that are really big, right? That that’s something that my assistant, uh, showed me that you did. The agency part, I wonder about what’s your process for getting partnerships from agencies and, and these are the people who are building and managing Shopify stores, right? It seems like the bigger people are not taking care of their own Shopify store.

They’re just hiring an agency that manages it. What’s your deal with them? Is it an affiliate deal?

Alex: Yeah, it’s an affiliate deal, but for most of them, they have higher priorities than rupture. They care about that. But for most agencies in this space, they want a really good partner, right? They want to work with the best software. They want someone who’s going to be really responsive to them in their client’s needs.

And they want someone who’s going to market with them to drive them potential leads for their business as well. And all that stuff tends to come before rev share, but it is also an affiliate deal?

uh, because we have a lot of customers that come in for, to postscript that didn’t come through an agency partner and as we get to know them or speak to them or understand the problems of their business, Maybe they’re having issues with their in-house developer and they need to develop an agency or maybe email marketing is underperforming for them.

And they’re looking for a new agency to manage that. So we can like route, or maybe they want to do SMS, but they don’t have the bandwidth. And so we can route stores like that who are looking for new partners to our agencies that we work with.

Andrew: what’s greenhouse IO. It seems like they’re sending you customers, you know them, I guess not.

Alex: No green greenhouse, the, uh, the applicant tracking software.

Andrew: Oh, maybe that’s what it is. Maybe it’s your it’s for hiring talent maybe because you’re hiring so much. I think I saw on one of your co-founders a LinkedIn profile, we’re just hiring for everything.

Alex: Yeah, we’re hiring for a lot. Right?

now. We, uh, we started the year at, around, uh, at somewhere around 50 and, uh, next week we’re going to cross a hundred.

Andrew: Wow. We, because largely I’m assuming e-commerce grew a lot over COVID right. E-commerce owners were much more willing to also, and had more time to think about their stores beyond the, the, the need to grow revenue. And then in general, Shopify, as a platform is growing, even if not for COVID right.

Alex: yeah, you nailed it. It’s also, it’s also very early in SMS where most merchants still aren’t doing it.

So there’s a lot of room to grow.

Andrew: What’s that thing over your shoulder. I keep looking over is that golf, golf clubs.

Alex: Those are golf clubs. I

Andrew: a golfer

Alex: were in frame. It’s a, it’s a COVID hobby.

Andrew: What do you mean? How are you going to go? Oh, because you get to go outside and play with other people and have some social distancing and LA was allowing golf

Alex: Okay. It was allowing golf. Uh, and let me tell you, boy, am I awful? Boy, am I just a horrible

Andrew: and you like it, even though you’re bad.

Alex: I like it a lot. Get outside a little bit, spend some time with friends.

Andrew: I’d have I tried it. There was a period where I just had a bunch of time off. I just had a couple of years to do nothing. I went to, I was living in LA and I went what’s. I think Santa Monica college is a great university because for like 30 bucks, you could take a swim class that met twice a week in the morning.

Beautiful pool. You get a coach who cares? When I started dating my wife, Olivia, we got up for Spanish class for again, 30, 60 bucks. Beautiful university. As long as you live in the area, you get to go there. I tried golf. That’s a one thing I couldn’t, I, I couldn’t keep up with, I, I did suck. There was a lot to learn and they can’t teach you the whole thing.

It’s tough to stick with it.

Alex: I’m getting into it at the same time as my dad. So we’re, we’re enjoying the adventure together, right.

Andrew: Yeah. But I feel like with your dad, it makes sense that he’d just sell a company recently.

Alex: Oh, great, great research. He did. It’s true. My dad’s an entrepreneur. He has been my whole life. And

Andrew: type of businesses did he have as you were growing up?

Alex: so, uh, there were a few, um, Before I was born him and my wife sold clothes at swap him and him and his wife. my mom sold clothes at swap meets. They would fly to the LA fashion market each week, buy a whole bunch of clothes, fly back to Phoenix, and they would work at swap meets.

And they did really, really well on a cash business. Just the two of them. Uh, early days when swap meets were more in Vogue, he had a clothing manufacturing company and then Mo growing up most of the time was spent, he owned a local vending company. So they like vending machines in like apartment buildings or work places or whatever.

And, uh, that’s, that’s what we did growing up. And then, um, more towards my college years, he moved over to, uh, the insurance space to the adjusting space. So like, if your basement floods and you call state farm, you say, Hey, my basement flooded. They send, they give That insurance claim to accompany, like my dad’s to send someone out to go measure the damage

Andrew: That was, that seems like such a random thing for him. But I feel like around the dinner table, growing up, they must have talked about the swap meets how they sold, how they got somebody to buy. Right.

Alex: definitely.

Andrew: That’s it, that’s the type of exciting story that I feel like makes business and entrepreneurship feel much more like a game, much more like a creative experience, much more like something that’s normalized.

Right?

Alex: Very normal as small businesses. Amazing. Um, and I mean, my dad taught me how to sell and I learned from him, he’s been an enormous

Andrew: What’d he teach you about how to sell them?

Alex: Uh, the best blessing that I ever learned from him that I tell sales reps is you should be, you should aim to be listening 70% of the time in a conversation with a prospect that should be your north star.

So many folks, especially in software, they get on and they Blab and they demo and they talk at you while they’re demoing this thing. And that’s completely missing the point. If you get someone to speak 70% of the time and you’ve listened 70% of the time. You’re probably going to foster an emotional connection and you’re going to learn about what they actually need.

Andrew: I do find that even if you don’t solve it, the fact that you’ve just listened to somebody gives them the sense of I’m going to say love for you. It’s it’s it’s. Right. It’s unearned. You don’t deserve it. But if you’re listening, you really get that. The vending machine is one that got gets my imagination fired up.

I must have read in like entrepreneur magazine or something. Some ad forget vending machines. And I remember going to my dad and saying, cause my dad was an entrepreneur too. He would encourage his stuff, but he would also discourage things. It just didn’t seem like they were like in a normal path that he was comfortable with.

So I say, I want to, I want to get bending machines and go and put them in these different places. I have time to do it and they’ll listen to a kid. And he said, are you kidding me? The mob owns all the vending machines. I don’t know what movie he saw that told him the New York mob owned all the vending machines at like NYU, but that stuck with him.

But the fact that the fantasy was you get to go into a place, convince them to put a vending machine in. Did you do that? Did he do that? Yeah.

Alex: He did that. I would tag along. I would sometimes help restock the machines, right. Driving a big truck, filled with like soda and candy in the back. Um, I would go to the office and it was a cash business. So I’d go and count money, which was like a really

Andrew: By hand, you wouldn’t have one of those

Alex: No, we’d have the machines but even so just dumping a giant thing of like change into a change sorter.

Yeah, we would do that.

Andrew: Yeah. It just makes it feel much more, much more. Hands-on like my brother who’s a developer says that he really loves to work with wood, or even frankly changed the toilet in his, in his house because you get to actually feel what you’re making to visualize that his bed needed some piece that was missing and then use a 3d printer to create.

And I feel like that’s what you get out of the vending machine business. How did he sell somebody on a vending machine?

Alex: Crafty. I bet if he would get a sense of the person who is the decision maker and. Sometimes it would be just about providing a service, right? You go to a company, they say, Yeah.

we want vending machines in our break room. Great. Right. Then you talk about choice and selection and, and reliability of the service.

Right. But sometimes you go to a shady, uh, maybe like an apartment building owner, and they’re a little shady, or maybe it’s a super, and what they want is they want to make 15% of everything that’s going through. They, they want their affiliate cut. Right. And, uh, then he would probably like strike a deal on that percentage.

Um,

Andrew: uh, and ordinarily they don’t get that because the break room people, they’re not looking for a percentage. They just want their people to be happy. That’s got it. That makes sense. But the landlord or the person wants a little bit of a cut on the side. Got it. That that’s the way I always thought it worked.

I

Alex: Here’s here’s an interesting thing I learned too is because my dad would go out for bids at different places and the best account that he had, uh, which would come around once a decade for like three years was the census because the census would just pop up and it would feel a huge office space with thousands and thousands of people.

That was a great one and another amazing one. And I don’t think he got this one, but he put in a bid for, it. was the Phoenix airport. And I remember that because he would complain about just the obscene Revenue. share that they wanted. They wanted like 40 or 50% of all of the sales, because airports are just money factories for us.

Andrew: Wow. And, and so how did he even get in into this? It was just like maybe reading entrepreneur magazine, deciding he was going to go for it.

Alex: He’d had a few businesses and he bought a small vending machine company and he grew it. Um, I don’t know how he arrived there. He was getting an MBA around that time from ASU and maybe it. Like

Andrew: got it.

Alex: it sparked his interest,

Andrew: the side hustle. Did, did you guys ever have any financial setbacks that kind of scarred you and made you a little more cautious?

Alex: Very much

Andrew: you did. What was

Alex: very much so. Uh, my parents had a pretty ugly divorce when I was, uh, it?

lasted for many years, but it started when I was like 13 or 14. And, um, that essentially caused like a financial reset for the company where we were like, I’d like grew up like upper middle class. Things were comfortable.

And after that, like both sides were essentially back at zero. And so that was like, I’d never understood our money situation before then. And then right as you’re coming of age, it essentially all disappears. And that was certainly like a, uh, an event that informed who I am

Andrew: And so what did, what did it make you do or how did it change you?

Alex: Well, it made my first few years after school, extremely risk averse. I didn’t want to be in a situation where I was vulnerable. And, uh, I think I’ve worked really hard to change, to like, realize like the true risk of like where I was in my career and like the ability to get other jobs and the huge upside that would come only from taking risk.

But it took me a while to understand that that, that was a huge shift in me. Uh, and, um, yeah, that’s the biggest one.

Andrew: I get that too, that we had a big setback too. I feel like that’s the, that’s the downside of entrepreneurship, at least the way that our dads did it. It was, it was my dad. Couldn’t go into get a job, I guess, at one point, now that I think about it, he did. But, um, there was no, there was no, uh, protection. If things didn’t work out.

Alex: sure.

Andrew: And as, and they were constantly, my dad was constantly like adjusting and trying new things. And if he got burned out, I don’t even know if we got burned out, but he was going to suffer from it on his own. It made me very risk averse. I think in the early days of Mixergy, I would talk about how I put all my money in basic CDs.

Just protect it, you know, good interest rates. I don’t need to make money off my money. I just don’t want it to go away and never end up in this vulnerable situation. But as you, as you age, you realize, well, there’s a big risk in that the value of money goes down over time. Right. And we’re not even talking about the consumer price index.

It’s like th there’s like the consumer price index. It factors in even how much does it cost to get a happy meal if that’s what you’re living on. Day-to-day it doesn’t, I don’t, I don’t think it takes into account how like private school prices jump up much more than the price of a happy meal, you know, anyway,

Alex: a huge thing for my growth in this area and this mindset and just being more fearless when it comes to taking on risk has come from being around my co-founders. Uh, both of them are much more attuned to like the trade off that you’re talking about and are just born that way. And, uh, Colin, especially who’s our COO and is very, very behind the scenes in general.

It’s how he likes to operate. Uh, he just is like a firm believer on taking on risk because when you actually look at the alternative, if you’re lucky enough to be in, you know, uh, proven tech career, the alternative to taking on the risk of entrepreneurship and not for everyone by any means, but if you’re, you know, a proven tech operator is like, you’ll get another job. actual risk of entrepreneurship for someone in that situation is relatively low.

Andrew: yeah, that makes sense until you take your feelings into account and arguing with feelings of that, that kind of logic is a challenge, but. Do you, do you do anything to like give yourself a backstop? Like if something doesn’t work out beyond the I’ll get a job, do you put some money away? Do you do something like live a cheaper lifestyle?

Alex: Sure. Uh, I’ve always, I mean, this was probably a huge informing factor of like the setback that my family went through is I’ve always lived within my means. I always aggressively save and that’s stayed true even with the success that postscript has seen over the last few years, um, of the three of us, like none of us are like, have those means yet or living fancy lifestyles and that’s just not really of interest.

Andrew: and then you left LA I CA that’s where it’s a big challenge. I feel like in these bigger cities, like LA and these flasher cities, boy, it’s so hard to not because it, frankly, even if you look at real estate, it’s either this crappy dumpy place or this high-end very expensive place. Right. And then the high end expensive place, even if you say, okay, it’s just the, the rent or it’s just the own, the mortgage, all these other expenses that go into it.

Coffee’s not going to cost the same there.

Alex: That’s

Andrew: What’d you live

Alex: I lived in, uh, Venice near you. And then I lived in, uh, silver lake on the east side of town.

Andrew: like it’s like, it’s become a cool spot and it’s

Alex: the cool

Andrew: than Venice, right? That’s a good spot to live in, actually. All right. I didn’t even get to just the there’s so much. I didn’t cover with postscript. Here’s the thing that I did though, before going and doing this interview, I said, oh, are we getting snowed?

Is like Devin metal is really into the software and has helped him. But really as a business, there’s something going on here. Is it not that great yet? Um, no, your fricking customers love you. That’s where I usually go to find some hate, cause there’s always somebody who hates something.

Alex: sure the people who hate us or our competitors, not our customers.

Andrew: that’s a great line. All right.

Alex: Uh, yeah,

Andrew: Uh, his, his side is.

Alex: customer obsession thing. Go

Andrew: Still to this day awake. Happy. Does he know you because he’s contacted you? Is that the thing like easier tool and then he reaches out to you or something? No, he just randomly said, Hey, I like this software, Andrew should interview you. That was his first connection to you. Well,

Alex: Yeah.

Andrew: If somebody goes now on whatever chat app you’re using, you’re on Intercom. Will you be there times?

Alex: I won’t, but if I’m requested, I will show up if the team tags me in I’ll pop in there from time to time. Sure.

Andrew: All right, Alex. Congratulations. Do you know what it really does feel good to have customers who just love what you’re doing to feel that they’re into it, right.

Alex: I’m extremely, extremely grateful for it. Uh, it is it’s our fuel every single day.

Andrew: yeah, it just makes you feel it’s gotta make you feel proud. I’m not even going to quote from it because frankly, I didn’t take a screenshot. Just felt like I didn’t get the negativity that I needed to balance out this interview. So screw it. I’m just going to delete it, but it’s, it’s gotta feel good. All right.

The website for anyone who wants to go check it out is Shopify go to Shopify app store and find postscript or go to, what is it? It’s postscript.io, right?

Alex: Yes, sir.

Andrew: postscript.io. And I want to, thanks to sponsors who made this interview happen? The first, if you want to steal Alex’s old idea and go create the Wirecutter of whatever, do it and tell him he’ll be so proud and do it on host gate.

In fact, even if you don’t do it on HostGator, we both want to know, but if you want to do it, inexpensively and reliably, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. And when you’re ready to hire a developer, Alex or anyone else go to top talent.com/mixergy. They’ll take great care of you. Thanks everyone.

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

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