How Latif Nanji turned roadmapping into a SaaS business

I looked up today’s guest on Product Hunt before this interview and people were beating up on his product, beating up on him. I wasn’t really sure what to make of him.

And then our producer talked to him and found out about the business. It’s just growing and growing for a company that has got an innovative idea and in an area you never would have thought could support a product.

I want to introduce you to him and find out how he built up his company. His name is Latif Nanji. He is the founder of Roadmunk. Roadmunk helps companies create and share their products strategy and roadmaps. We’ll talk more later about what that means.

Latif Nanji

Latif Nanji

Roadmunk

Latif Nanji is the founder of Roadmunk which helps companies create and share their products strategy and roadmaps.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I do interviews with real tech entrepreneurs for an audience of real tech entrepreneurs. Like, frankly, today’s guest, both a listener and now an interviewee. And frankly, if I discovered him on my own, I don’t know if I would have had him on Mixergy because who knew that this was such a big business.

Frankly, the truth is that a few months ago, a guy named Chad McAllister who’s been listening for a long time sent me an email about this guy, Latif. He said, “Andrew, he’d be a great person to invite over for Scotch or to have on Mixergy as a guest.” And he started telling me about this Latif’s business and I thought, “Huh, really?” So then I looked him up on Product Hunt and man. People were beating up on the product, beating up on him, “How could you charge so much? [inaudible 00:00:50] bucks a person, how dare you?” And again, I wasn’t really sure what to make of him.

And then our producer talked to Latif, the founder you’re about to meet and found out about the business. It’s just growing and growing for a company that has just been around for just a few years and has got an innovative idea and in an area you never would have thought could support a product, really impressive business.

All right, I want to introduce you to him and find out how he built up his company. His name is Latif Nanji. He is the founder of Roadmunk. Roadmunk helps companies create and share their products strategy and roadmaps. We’ll talk more later about what that means.

First, I’ve got to tell you that this interview is sponsored by the company that will help you hire your next great developer. It’s called Toptal. And by the company that will help you do email marketing right, really automate your marketing, it’s called ActiveCampaign. But I’ll tell you more about those later. First, Latif, welcome.

Latif: Thank you very much for having me.

Andrew: Hey, before I get into this whole Roadmunk thing, you, before you did this when you were 21 years old you ran something called Pokerspace. What’s Pokerspace?

Latif: Pokerspace was a social network for poker players. So when Facebook was in its hype and taking off, we leveraged sort of the social networking sort of rocket ship that was going up and combine it with poker players as I had played poker for the previous three years online and had done fairly well.

But wanted to, instead of making my schedule go to 5:00 a.m. in the morning, maybe end it at 5:00 p.m. sort of, on a regular cadence. So that was sort of the onset to the entrepreneurial career in the tech industry

Andrew: And to help you figure out how to grow this business you went to your neighbor’s house often, why?

Latif: So we were in an incubator that was really new in the Waterloo.

Andrew: You were in an incubator?

Latif: Yeah.

Andrew: With the poker site, with Pokerspace?

Latif: That’s correct.

Andrew: Okay. All right, and so what happened?

Latif: So we had raised, 1.5 million and did a lot of the learnings there, but next door to us was a company called Miovision and they were also in a very similar trajectory. And during my time at Pokerspace, five best friends had started this up and we had realized that we had a lot to learn during our time, building a social network, we had over 100,000 members. We were doing millions in revenue but at the same time, we were growing a business as sort of young entrepreneurs.

Andrew: And what was it? Actually, how did you make millions of dollars from this Facebook for poker players?

Latif: So our revenue model is actually fairly simple. So what we would do with the poker sites is we would negotiate a revenue share agreement or what’s called a CPA, Cost Per Acquisition. And so, each player could be worth anywhere between $300 to $500 on a one-time basis but since there was a dozen to 20 different poker sites, the LTV of a particular user could be upwards of $5,000. And when you’ve got $100, 000 of those you can start to really monetize them very quickly.

Andrew: You also had poker school, I think, right? Were you guys charging for that?

Latif: We did have an education system and component as well that we did charge for. It was sort of a smaller part of the business because most of the money was made between sending those players, getting them better at poker, and then sending them to the websites because the longer they played the more that we made.

Andrew: I see, and then what’s this thing where you also said on your website at one point, “Over $50,000 paid out every month,” to whom?

Latif: Oh, wow.

Andrew: Why did the . . .

Latif: The commissions. So we had affiliates. This was basically a massive affiliate engine. And so, there was another layer of middlemen where people were sending us players from their websites.

Andrew: I see.

Latif: And so, people that sent us poker players we would then buy them from them and we would send them an affiliate check. So there was a lot of money to be made on both sides of the equation.

Andrew: I see. So people were sending you players, you were giving them commission. You were getting those players to stay on your site and socialize more and then recommending that they play on different poker sites. And also telling them about different tournaments on different poker sites, all to keep them playing there longer because the longer they play on those sites the bigger your commission’s are.

And you also had a school on the side. The school wasn’t bringing in as much revenue as sending people to the actual poker sites but it was there too.

Latif: That’s exactly right.

Andrew: Got it. I got the model, and then when you go next door to your next-door neighbor’s house what were you learning from them?

Latif: Well, we were learning pretty much everything that I think entrepreneurs think as 101. So how to build a team and a culture, scale management, what software tools to even track all of the things that build software. We were at the very beginnings of that.

But I learned a lot about product management especially from the early founders because they were both building hardware and software, and so that team alignment component became really big.

We also had our early founder issues because we were five really good friends that built this company together. So we also had to deal with those kinds of challenges and that was a great learning experience as well when I was pretty young.

Andrew: All right. This poker site is no longer around. What happened to it?

Latif: So as a most startups happen, we ran out of money and it was . . .

Andrew: Why? You were making so much money from commissions. Is it because all the poker sites started to go out of business and they stopped paying?

Latif: So that was the other side of it, yeah. So there was something called Black Friday that happened, and there was a law that was passed called the UIGEA law and the Unlawful Internet Gaming and Enforcement Act was pushed through the United States Congress. And what that meant was is that they wanted to control all the transactions for taxing purposes. So a lot of the smaller sites started to dwindle. There were a lot of players that stopped playing and a lot of the sites couldn’t even pay us out.

So there was a big . . . we didn’t end up getting paid out from these websites. So there was obviously that friction that came into play. So with the laws, the lack of, and the scandal that had happened since a lot of players got duped out of a bunch of money, we were right in the middle of that because if they can’t pay the players they obviously couldn’t pay us and so, the cash reserves kind of started to lower because we couldn’t pull in our incoming AR.

Andrew: Give me the human interest out of this, right? At the height, you were making money, boatloads of cash and at the low you were sad. Give me an example of the height. What’s the greatest baller move that you did?

Latif: In an actual poker tournament, you mean?

Andrew: No. Even in life. Did you buy yourself a great car? Did you start dressing kind of fancy? Did you do something else?

Latif: Oh, wow. Yeah. So for me, the biggest kind of move that I did was when I had won a big tournament once online, it was a pretty decent amount. It was around $50,000 or $60,000. I took out half the cash and I was young. I wanted to buy a house and there was a new build. So I just went right up to them and I was like, “I want to just buy and just put a down payment for like a decent amount in cash.” And I just bought the house and I moved in within like three or four months.

Andrew: I see.

Latif: And this was crazy because I also didn’t have school debt. So you know, in Canada it’s a little bit less, but I was able, to by the age of 20, basically cut off my [inaudible 00:07:50] and be like, “Hey, I’m good. Thank you.” And then paid up all my school debt. And it was mostly the trips with the friends that I had covered through the Bahamas, Aruba, and [inaudible 00:08:00].

Andrew: You would pay for all your friends to come to the Bahamas? I see. Okay.

Latif: Yeah. So a lot of those kinds of trips were part of that.

Andrew: Posh luxury trips.

Latif: Yeah, they were pretty expensive.

Andrew: What do you get when you have money to spend on a trip?

Latif: When you’re 21? I mean you don’t necessarily have the grandest tastes but really it’s coming down to the hotel room, spending it at the casino, tons of bottle service, and things like that.

Andrew: Okay, Black Friday comes, company starts to lose money. Take me to the low, again the human interest side, what happened at that point to you?

Latif: Well, what was crazy is that, so, the investors, you have to keep in mind since you’re in the middle of the house of cards were also losing money because the ’08 crash was happening at the exact same time. So we were . . .

Andrew: Oh, right. So they were suffering too.

Latif: This was like October, like, August, September, October 2008. So they were coming to us saying, “You should sell the company.” We had a potential buyer, but there was a liquidation preference that made it unfavorable for them. So now we’re combating with investors, we’re combating with black market, and we’re running out of money.

So we’re getting hit with from sort of three different angles and none of which we’ve ever fielded off before. And so this kind of culminating and us having to downsize because we really didn’t know what our recourse was at that point.

Andrew: You closed out the company?

Latif: No. we went down to about 3 employees from about 20 and I was not one of the three. So I moved on to my next opportunity.

Andrew: Was it frustrating that you got fired or did it actually feel like a relief? “Finally, I’m done with this. Now it’s their headache.”

Latif: You know what? There was this first moment of like, “Man, this is crazy that this isn’t working, and we put so much effort into it, and I spent a lot of my own personal resources into the company as well as my co-founders.” But there was this moment where I recognized that was the definition of failure. And I was so overwhelmed with joy that I’m like, “If this is what failure is, it’s really not that bad.” But mind you, I was 22, 23 coming out of it.

I had a whole runway of opportunities in front of me. I had gathered a whole set of skills because I became a voracious reader which I wasn’t prior to the startup because I had a lot of ideas about how I thought the world should be and intuitively but I didn’t have the language and articulation.

I started reading Richard Branson’s books. I’m reading books from Dan Heath and the guys from Harvard. And all of a sudden I was able to start to form myself into this new person from that and I realized I was actually very grateful for that experience more than anything.

Andrew: Okay. And so, did you lose your house by the way?

Latif: No, no, no. I still have the house.

Andrew: You still have the house? Okay. All right, and the house or the neighbors that you had at the time were Miovision, that’s a company we’re talking about. You ended up working for them.

Latif: Yeah. So after Pokerspace sort of died off or trimmed off there, I ended up going to work for them. They obviously were very interested since we had talked for a couple of years and they were going from 15 to 100 people over the next 36 months. And so I got to join them as a product manager and take on some of the major initiatives that they had going on there.

Andrew: And the CEO, Curtis McBride, comes to you one day and says, “Hey, Latif, what are we going to be doing over the next year with this product?”

Latif: Yes.

Andrew: And your response was?

Latif: “We’re doing agile. I can tell you what we’re doing over the next two weeks.” And let me tell you, that wasn’t the answer he was looking for. He wanted to know to his board what we’re doing for the next year, what the market strategy was, what the product strategy was. And we just simply didn’t have a handle on that because we were just really focused on the day-to-day with respect to building out the product for the current customer base.

Andrew: Isn’t that the right way to approach things? I could see that they work in, here’s how TechCrunch describes what they do. “They develop intelligent technology solutions to address the challenges facing today’s global transportation network and to minimize environmental impact of inefficient transportation flow.” So they’re in software for transportation, right?

I get how they might need a little bit longer roadmap, but isn’t it better to be more agile? To see what customers want week to week? To produce a product and then decide where you’re going to go after people react to that product?

Latif: Absolutely. And I don’t think there’s actually a conflict between agile and road mapping, whether it’s short, medium, or long-term road mapping. In fact, we just put out an eBook about that. And the reason we did that is because, I think, people just intuitively feel that they cannot coexist.

But the reality is that if you want to do budgeting, if you want to do long-term hiring because it does take a while to find key hires, if you do want to go into a market that’s much greater, you have to do some level of planning. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be regimented on a specific date, but it does have to have a forward direction. And I think that’s the main purpose of why we had to undergo this exercise.

Granted they do have hardware which does actually require inventory controls and long-term road mapping. So there has to be a balance between two-week sprints as well as six-month planning.

Andrew: I see. And he said, “All right. You guys are good at the two-week sprint stuff. Thanks for being so agile but I need to know what we’re going to be half a year, a year from now. Create a way for me to do it.” And so, you guys start to build this process, the software internally just for yourselves. Can I ask you a dumb question?

Why not just use Excel? Why not just say we’re going to create rows with all the things we need to do and columns with the dates and we’ll hit cross marks or hash marks in the cells representing when things are due? You’re smiling. Does that seem like the first version that you built?

Latif: That’s absolutely what we did.

Andrew: You did?

Latif: That is not a dumb question. That’s how actually mostly about 98% of the market uses and creates roadmaps today, is in Excel and PowerPoint. What we didn’t know though is that there was an element of collaboration, there was an element of buy-in, when sales goes out into the field there’s organizations that literally all their sales reps have specific roadmaps for those particular customers.

So there were different variances of that that required more energy to . . . in this particular organization, they needed some collaboration, they needed to have some customer input. But it wasn’t much more bigger than that.

But when we presented what we were doing and where this tool could go to an audience of product managers, there was a few enterprise product managers in the room that just overtly stated, “We would buy that software today from you because going between Excel and PowerPoint a tabular format and a visual format back and forth, spends an extraordinary amount of time and it chews up product manager’s strategy time that they could be using for something else.”

Andrew: And the reason they were going back and forth is Excel is where they would create the product roadmap and then they would export it into PowerPoint so they could present it to their customers, so they could present it internally to the team, and say, “Here’s where we’re going. Don’t worry, I know you’re looking for this feature. Here’s how it fits in with what we’re building.”

Latif: Exactly.

Andrew: I see. Okay. So they were going back and forth. These whole interviews how did you go from, “My CEO needs something . . . ” Excuse me. I think I said earlier that Curtis was a COO. He’s a CEO, or was. How did you go from building it for him, for Curtis, to suddenly starting to have conversations with people outside the company?

Latif: So I was really connected to the product management peer-to-peer community. In Waterloo they have these roundtables in which all the salespeople can sit together, all the product managers can sit together. So I was still early on in my product management career, so I was always coming up with these ideas of how to move the needle forward.

And so, one of the presentations I had done there was all the tools the product managers need. And I had this big open space with road mapping where I said Excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft Project, Visio and then I talked about our internal tool. And so, that was sort of the bridge between our sort of internal focus, where I’m heads down, to opening my eyes and seeing that there’s a market of other people that do things differently in their organizations.

Andrew: You know what? This is kind of an interesting thing. I remember one of my conversations with Tim Ferriss around interviewing, ended with him saying, “Okay. I got what I was looking for. By the way, what software are you using?” I started telling him and he said, “Can I see that?” Actually, I think he expressed such an interest, I said, “Do you want to see this?” And I said, “Here’s a link where I can show you my screen.” We got on Zoom and I started sharing my screen with him. And he started asking all these questions, “How do you book guests? What do you do this? What do you . . . ?” And he wanted to see the software.

And until he started asking these questions and the way that he asked it, I didn’t realize the importance of understanding the software that other people use. You guys, you seem to have gotten benefit from that back when you were just next door to the guys from Miovision, right? What is it about this group meeting that you were just telling me about, where you’re sharing software and you’re saying, “Here’s how we’re using these tools,” what is it about the sharing that’s useful?

Latif: For us, I think it comes down to one of our core values which is empathy. The ability to go into someone’s psychology and mindset and, like, live and breathe their problems every day, there’s simply nothing that can replace that. It’s still why we go get on a plane and visit a customer.

And so, when someone’s like, “I need to see how you solve this problem,” well, we can talk about it in words, but if we go through all the nitty-gritty of how you set up a roadmap, how do you set up the structures, how do you present it? People were like, “So how do you go through that step by step process just like you did with Tim?” who I’m a very huge fan of, by the way.

There’s something to be said about that because all of those subtleties really make up the experience of the product. There’s a reason why Slack won even though it had all these competitors already doing what they did. It’s because they figured out these subtleties that made the workflows so concise and usable which is why they spent two or three years in sort of a beta inside of an organization learning all those problems. I think that is why successful companies exist, is because they’re building products with that in mind.

Andrew: I think I’m hearing two things, Latif. One is, you went to a group of product managers and you said, “Here’s the tools that we’re using internally,” so they could learn from you. And then they got excited about this product roadmap, the software that you were building, am I right?

Latif: Yes.

Andrew: And then the second thing is, you then said, “I want to go and understand how other people have this problem and how they solve it,” and you started doing one-on-one meetings. In fact, you said to our producer, “I had 150 coffees, 150 conversations with different product managers to understand this problem.” Tell you what, let me take a moment and we’ll come back and find out how you had those conversations and what you got from them.

But the first thing I want to tell anyone who is listening to me is that if you’ve been doing email where you’re just broadcasting email out to everyone, you’re making a big mistake. The solution to email, to reaching your audience isn’t one big broadcast to every single person.

What we learned, over the last five years as marketers, is you want software that will allow you to treat customers different from non-customers but more than that. If somebody’s on your website . . . in fact, for you Latif, imagine you have someone who’s reading an article about product roadmaps for startups and another person who is reading an article about how enterprise can incorporate product roadmap software into their businesses, you now know that these are two different kinds of people.

You don’t want to send them the same email. For the startup, you might want to say, “Here’s how it helps you stay flexible.” For enterprise you might want to start telling them, “Here’s how it allows you to communicate with a big team.” The only way you can keep track of who’s whom is by having software that intelligently knows who your audience is based on what they’re doing, not what they’re telling you.

You don’t need endless surveys. Just what pages are they on, what are they clicking in the emails you send them. And based on that you start to change your messaging to them? So you have different sets of email based on who people are and the software knows who gets what. That’s the idea behind marketing automation.

Now, this is very basic stuff what I described to you. You can have tons of if-then statements if they click today, and tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that. Maybe they’re clicking so much that you might want to have a customer talk to a salesperson. So maybe you trigger if they click every email for the last seven days, you trigger an email that says, “We’re offering demos on Monday. Here’s a link with our calendar. Book whatever time works for you.”

If they’re not clicking anything, maybe they’re not engaged enough, then you might want to change your content. Maybe you want to throw something in that’s a little more social, a little more fun to bring their attention back. All those things are what marketing automation is all about.

If you want to see how it could work for you guys, go check out this link activecampaign.com/mixergy. What I like about that is there is a screenshot right in the middle of the page showing you, basically in one visual, how marketing automation can work for you with a potential customer.

And as you scroll through it you’re going to see how ActiveCampaign will allow you to keep tabs on who your customers are, what their phone numbers are, what their interests are, what they’ve done, what they bought, what notes your other team members have left on them and how the software will automate the way that you engage with them.

Special URL that will also, the one that I just gave you, will allow you to have your second month free, let you have two free one-on-one sessions with their platform consultants. So you’ll have an expert walk you through how you can really take advantage of all the features of marketing automation, not just have them be there and you never use them.

And finally, if you’re on one of the more basic email packages or even a competitor to Active Campaign and you want to migrate, they will offer you free migration. But all this will come to you if you just use this simple URL.

It is activecampaign.com/mixergy, activecampaign.com/mixergy. And I know from the feedback I’ve gotten via email that this is one of the most used sponsor products. So I’m grateful to them for sponsoring because people are being helped by, their businesses are growing. Thank you activecampaign.com/mixergy.

Hey, how did you get, Latif, 150 conversations with product managers?

Latif: It was a hustle. It was as simple as that. I had to email every person that I knew, that knew a product manager. I would reach out on LinkedIn, I found people within the community that were thought leaders. I was still fairly young and I recognized that I had a lot to learn in the space. So I wanted to make sure I took in everyone’s information so that I could use it to build the best product.

But those coffees were invaluable because, one, what I didn’t realize is that all of these people actually wanted to help because I was going to be making their life easier. In return for them giving me information, I was going to build them something that they could use in the future so all of them would be part of the early experience, they could shape some of the product. So over the course of around four months is when I was heads down doing this and my technical co-founder was . . .

Andrew: Four months?

Latif: Four months.

Andrew: And by the way, you still had a job at the time?

Latif: Oh, no. This is when we had started the startup.

Andrew: I see. So you said, “Look, I see there’s enough of a problem here that I got to go for it. I’ve got to leave my job. I have to focus on this full-time and focus for me means at first talking to lots of people.” Let me break down for a second your process. You said it was easy to get people on the phone with you, get them to have in-person conversations. What was the messaging? What’s the phrase that you said that got people to say, “Yes, Latif, I don’t know who you are. Let’s get together because I need you?”

Latif: So one of the things that I think we did that was fairly unique with respect to getting them to have an in-person conversation was that they were going to be able to help build a product from its early onset. “I’m solving a problem for you guys that I’ve heard you had in this domain.”

Andrew: How did you express the problem in a way that let them say, “Aha, he does get it”?

Latif: I think it was what I would do since they were part of the early peer group, if they had made any mention of their particular problem. So they would say, “Oh, our road mapping process is done this way and this is our problem.” I would speak directly to that point in the email. So I would take notes on those people and then since I’d have social proof with them it would be very easy to leverage that first concentric circle of peers to then go to the next one.

Andrew: I see. “I helped Steve at XYZ Company, you know who he is. Can I talk to you too?”

Latif: Yeah.

Andrew: Got it. And you had those peer group from where? How did you get so many, people?

Latif: So Communitech is an organization in KW. They’ve been around for over 15 years. Started by the guys over an OpenText. People like Carol Lehman, Ian Cloutman and a lot of the major founders and the KW community, of Kitchener, Waterloo, excuse me.

Andrew: Kitchener. Hang on. Okay. Let me pause a second for that because I asked you before the interview started, “What’s the one thing I could do for you in this interview?” And I thought you’d say, “Hey, Andrew, we’d like to get more users. Hey, Andrew, we’d like to hire.” You said, “No. I want you to talk about Waterloo. I’d like you to talk about Toronto.”

Why does this matter so much? And I guess I’m seeing it here because Communitech, this organization that’s from that part of the world, is what helped get you going.

Latif: Absolutely. There’s no more direct correlation between, I think, a lot of the founders who have are becoming successful or are successful than what Communitech is then, Communitech is a nonprofit organization that helps over 1,000 local tech companies build, help finance, and give advice to those startups. And they do it in the most constructive and streamlined process. To be a Communitech member is free for startups. So it’s like less than 1,000 bucks going forward and they give you access to a database of incredible information but not only that, they’re proactive. They’re not reactive.

It says, “Don’t come to us when you need help. We’re going to come to you because we think you need this because we understand what the cycle of a startup is and here’s how we can help.” And then they would have their own buildings with those resources actually stationed there every single day. I mean, this is an environment that you have the greatest chance of success and they do it in such a way that I think that’s different from down south where it’s more hyper competitive, everyone is stealing from each other and candidates are much more fostered with like, “How can we help each other?” And Communitech has been the entire glue of the tech ecosystem on the East Coast.

Andrew: I see. I see. I’m looking at their website right now. They’ll do legal briefs, one-on-one guidance with qualified lawyers at no cost, they’ll do things like Google for Entrepreneurs, where they’re part of an organization with Google, which means you’re going to get free startup resources, invited to pitch contests and co-working space at home and abroad. I see, all right. So that is what got you your first group of product managers. That’s who you were going after, right?

Latif: Yeah, and they run all of the peer-to-peer groups for every type of job category. So you could be a CEO, a COO, a VP of Finance as product manager etc. They have peer groups led by the top VP of finance who organizes and does that and brings those people together for best practices. So it proliferates throughout the entire set of tech companies.

Andrew: I see. Okay, and you know what? Let me just underline something before I ask your next question. You talked to 150 people. I think most entrepreneurs in your position wouldn’t even send out 150 requests, let alone end up with 150 conversations. I think it’s so easy to send out 15 and go, “This is BS. It’s not going to work out. Latif is lying. It’s BS. Someone’s exaggerating somewhere,” and get cynical.” But man, to actually do the work and send out 150, even 100 offers, for people to get together with you and give you feedback and help solve their problem is impressive.

What did you learn from that that you didn’t know having done this for so long and built it? What’s one piece of knowledge that you got that helped inform the product?

Latif: So everyone does road mapping differently. If you go to a pharmaceutical company, there’s a concept of agile with the lifecycle of a 20-year drug. It doesn’t even exist in that world. If you go to the military space, they’re dealing with 50-year roadmaps. If you go to aerospace, they’re dealing with 25 and 30-year roadmaps. If you’re dealing with software startups, yes, you might get the three-month to one-year, but then you’ve got organizations that if they have hardware they have a whole different way of doing road mapping.

And so, all of a sudden, we had to take all of the different roadmap templates from all these product managers and then we created a canvas board between my co-founder and I. And what we try to do is we try to create, pull out the common elements from each of these roadmaps to create our first version so that we could, say if we looked at about 15 different more verticals we could probably tackle the first 5 based on the common elements and then work our way there.

So it helped us, A, figure out the shape of the market. B, it set our priorities and C, it gave us a governance structure to actually building what was going to sell early on so that we could be sustainable.

Andrew: Why not say, “We’re going to focus on one of these groups?” Pharmaceutical companies, you told our producer, do 20-year roadmaps?

Latif: Yeah.

Andrew: Let’s just focus on pharmaceutical companies first and then we’ll start to add features for other people.

Latif: So we did do that but what we recognized is that there’s still a decent overlap between the two and the best thing that we could do to service that market is get that information and then have customer success go in and continue to work with them. But we had enough where we could start to sell.

So our first customer was in the medical space and so their medical roadmaps were running two to three years. And then we started selling into software, and then we got a huge pharmaceutical company, and then we started to go around doing that.

But we could focus on one market but then we would really have to have an outbound sales market model and we wanted to have an inbound model. So if we could service a more generic slice of the market, we could then get in leads that could then automate their way through the payment process which is what we wanted to do for our customer journey.

Andrew: I see. Okay. All right, and one of the things you told our producer you did was you started when you were talking to people asking them for a non-sensitive template of their roadmap so you can actually have a copy of what they use to run their product development. And you also said, look, the one thing that got us going that said, okay, we’re ready to roll, is a conversation with Andre from a big healthcare company. What did Andre say? What’s the phrase that got you guys started?

Latif: Andre said, “I’ll pay you a lot of money for that.”

Andrew: I see. Like, you finally described something that he said, “I’m willing to put down cash for.” What was it that he said, “I’m willing to pay for that”?

Latif: He said, he looked at the ability to take a tabular view of his releases and what he was road mapping to visually being able to go into his boardroom at a $100 million-plus revenue company and be able to present that with confidence and work with a global team structure. So he has three offices, two in North America and one in Switzerland.

The challenge is that if they’re in PowerPoint and they’re using SharePoint there’s all these documents exchanging hands. They’re not in the cloud, they’re not collaborative, they don’t have a way to track history of what’s going on very easily, and everyone gets lost in the mud.

And so, when he saw that there was actually a way to do this as a SaaS offering, that would save him money and time and look better because we were focused on building this product going forward which is an incredibly huge thing when you’re replacing an internal tool, that just became so obvious as a pain point for him to drop upwards of close to six figures on a product like this.

Andrew: Six figures?

Latif: Yes.

Andrew: For a cloud-based software?

Latif: Yes.

Andrew: And now you have your first . . . did you collect payment or did you . . . ?

Latif: This was two years ago. So we’re past that.

Andrew: 2014, did you collect payment first from him or did you go build it and then charge him?

Latif: So we actually built it and then when we did our first version launch we took 50% then and then we did a six-month beta with his users, ironed out all of the kinks, and then we took the remaining 50% after that.

Andrew: You told our producer, “In three months we got . . . ” Do remember how many customers?

Latif: Yeah, I do remember.

Andrew: How many?

Latif: Fifty.

Andrew: Fifty? How do you get 50 customers to pay you for a product that basically is an alternative to what they’re already doing, right? You can’t get people to switch from spreadsheets for like their contact list to a CRM sometimes. How do you get 50 people to do that in three months?

Latif: I honestly think my laughter is because it still surprises me to this day just that’s one of the question . . . because we had no idea how many people were going to pay for this. We setup stripe, we set up a billing system, and we just said, “Here’s a pricing model” that was mostly untested. Let’s be honest here, yeah, we had some conversations.

But there was just some word-of-mouth that was spreading in the early part of the chasm with the product innovators and something had clicked. And they realized that when you searched online product roadmap, and you searched those particular keywords, there was one or two offerings. And we spent an inordinate amount of time on design.

We’re a sort of a very much design focused firm. We implemented a design system, we’ve got five designers that spread across the organization because we care so much about the experience of the user that we wanted to make sure that even if it was buggy, even if it didn’t have all the features, you felt a sense of trust coming into this tool and that it would soon allow you to do what it needed to. And so that was one of our core things we did when we launched and I think that had a big part to play in those early customers onboarding.

Andrew: I see. All right and then actually revenue coming in the door for a bootstrap company, life is starting to actually get good, right?

Latif: Yes.

Andrew: You go from two people. It’s you and your co-founder. Who was your co-founder?

Latif: My co-founders name is Tomas Benda. So he was the head of engineering at Miovision and he’s worked in four different startups. So he was quite ready for this opportunity.

Andrew: How did you get him to leave and what was it about this opportunity that got him ready?

Latif: I think it was a conversation over a couple glasses of scotch and beer but the real trigger was when we filled out a YC application in 2012 on what was called “The No Idea Stream.” We got an interview there, and sitting down in that particular environment was a very good validation, I think for not just myself but mostly for him, to be like, “This could be very real.” I think we have the team, potentially an idea in front of us and so that was sort of the onset moment.

Andrew: All right. I’ve got to tell people about a company called Toptal. Have you heard about them before Mixergy? You know them? I’ll tell you about them, Latif.

Latif: Yes.

Andrew: Here is the thing, I actually read a book, you’re a big reader. Did you know about the book called “The Firm,” about McKinsey, the consulting company?

Latif: I’ve heard it but I haven’t read it.

Andrew: It’s kind of like a biography of McKinsey and this is a firm that’s had like incredible alumni who’ve gone through it and have been a part of the McKinsey consulting company.

What’s interesting about them is that McKinsey would go in and solve a problem for one company and then what they would do is they get smarter. So when they want to address a problem of another company they’d be that much more intelligent because they saw a problem at another big company. And each new business that these consultants would go work for would lead them to be smarter because they solved so many problems in other businesses.

And you’ve got people like . . . I’m trying to think of some of their alumni and for some reason, there’s just so many here on their Wikipedia page, no one’s standing out for me. They’re just all names. Actually, for some reason, I don’t even recognize them but they’re the big people who’ve come out of that, who run major companies, major government agencies from McKinsey.

Anyway, the reason I’m bringing it up in regard to Toptal is, when we usually hire developers we hire one person who’s had experience with two or three different companies who is now coming into our company and bringing in experience from those two companies and it’s good. But what we often need is a lot more experience. Someone who solved multiple problems and that’s one of the benefits of working with Toptal.

These guys and I’ve said before, they will put a lot of tests in the way of every potential Toptal developer. You can’t get into the Toptal network unless you’ve gone through all these different tests. But once you’re in, you solve so many different companies problems that you just become a better, better developer and you also have access to all these other people who are also in the Toptal network, the best of the best, who are talking to each other on a regular basis using Slack, using the other developers as sounding board.

So if there’s an issue that they can’t solve, they don’t have to go on to just Stack Exchange. They could just go into this network of people who are all knowing each other, who all support each other. Some of them are in the same city and say, “Here’s the problem, how do you solve it? Here’s the issue, here’s what my client is looking to do, we haven’t come up with a great way to do it. How would you do it?”

And so that’s the benefit of working with Toptal. If you’re looking for a great developer, you owe it to yourself to at least have a conversation with Toptal. And I say a conversation because, even though I’m going to give you a URL to a web page, one of the first things they’ll do with you is just talk to you. And many people have complained to me the Toptal actually says, “No. You’re not a good fit.” I think that’s actually not something to complain about. That’s good.

If you call Toptal and they say, “Hey, you’re not a good fit because you’re not far enough along with your business,” or they can’t solve the problems that you want them to address, they should say no. They shouldn’t take every single customer. So if you want to see if you’re a good fit and if you are, you’ll get to work with these developers from Toptal.

Here’s a URL where they will give you 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours and that’s in addition to a no risk trial period of up to two weeks. That’s an incredible offer available only at toptal.com/mixergy. That’s toptal.com/mixergy. Top as in top of the mountain, Tal as in talent. Toptal.com/mixergy. Great company.

I see you now have your partner, you have your customers and then you told our producer, “We had to scale up. We had to bring in more people. One of the biggest pain points was customer support and engineering.” Talk to me a little bit about what happens when you get that many customers all at once who depend on you for their product development.

Latif: Yeah. That was definitely a challenge for us. We did have to do a fundraiser. I think that was really imminent because we had customers like Nike, Citibank, Amazon, Coca-Cola, coming at us with, obviously, really big needs and you have a decision as a company to make whether you choose to service the enterprise, and above the SMB market or you go sort of to the tail-end. And we decided we wanted to be aggressive and pursue that and so, we had to scale up.

Now, thankfully, we have a remote culture here. So we have our development office next to the University of Waterloo in Kitchener and we have our operations team in Toronto. So we had to go aggressively higher going from about 6 people to 30 in 2016.

Andrew: Six people to 30 people? You have to hire that many in what? In about a year.

Latif: Yeah. In a year.

Andrew: You raised what? $1.6 million, do I have that right?

Latif: Yeah, around there.

Andrew: From Golden Venture Partners?

Latif: Golden Venture Partners, Felicis and Garage VC.

Andrew: I see. Okay and so, how do you hire that many people all at once without ending up with bozos?

Latif: So the first thing and the most important weapon you need and this is something that I have to say I read on a [inaudible 00:38:31] post because it was really informative, it was like, “As soon as you close that round, the first hire you make is an office manager and a recruiter.” And it’s not like the key developer that you need right away or that product manager or that marketing guru. We went and hired an office manager that worked both at Twitter and 500 Pixels. So two very famous companies in the Toronto ecosystem and as well as Twitter of globally.

We brought her on and she became a force within the organization and so she set the hiring pipeline and actually was the key driver to making sure that we scaled and got the right people in place.

Andrew: I see. And when you get a recruiter on board, it’s interesting that that’s one of the first people, we’re talking about kind of a temporary recruiter, right? This isn’t the full-time position, is it?

Latif: Well, we kind of got a unicorn in this case because she was both an office manager and knew how to recruit. So when responsibilities needed to shift in terms of direction she could handle one and the other at the same time because we knew that we were going to be continuously scaling and today we still are.

Andrew: So you can actually get someone who’s going to do office management work which is like our bathroom is not working or we need to get a better computer for our team and at the same time recruit?

Latif: She was doing both of those jobs. Today we do have someone else that’s sort of offloaded the office managerial job that we just hired a few months ago. But for the first year, she was definitely doing both of those responsibilities and we’re very grateful for that.

Andrew: Interesting. I rent a garage here in San Francisco. I want to have a place where we can keep our car. It’s just like attached to our place, to our house, from a guy who’s a recruiter, who on a regular basis will switch positions and just go in as like a recruiter for hire for some of the major tech firms here. And I could tell who is about to go through a growth spurt based on where he’s working.

Actually, that would be an interesting way to keep tabs on companies to see who just brought in a new recruiter. I don’t know how you would find that though, who brought in one of these recruiter for hires.

Latif: LinkedIn, figure out the job title through the paper.

Andrew: Yeah. I wonder if they list it. They seem to be a lot stealthier than you’d expect.

All right. I see it. How did you learn how to hire? Because even though you’re hiring a recruiter you still need to learn how to bring people in. What’s the book or what’s the methodology that you use?

Latif: So one of the things that we did the very first day we started this company, and it was actually a piece of advice Curtis had given us, is that we get your company values done right from day one. And we spent, I think, the whole day trying to figure out how to do this and then over time we nailed down our four company values around empathy, learning and growth, balance, and being relentlessly resourceful.

So with those four values in mind, we hired against them and our biggest one is empathy. So do they have empathy for the user? Are they willing to jump on support at any time? Do they have an emotional intelligence that matches that of being capable to work in very difficult startup situations?

And, we have a very smart person that has a high aptitude for just general intelligence, do they still match balance in life? Do they still make sure that they do the things that we think are respecting both their personal and their business life so they can have a healthy life?

So those are the types of qualitative things we try to suss out in our interview process and we became way more regimented over time. So if someone didn’t fit those values that we had, we simply couldn’t hire them because they wouldn’t fit the culture.

Andrew: And you just sat down with, like, a Google Doc a whole day and you said, “Let’s make a bullet point list of everything we care about.”

Latif: “Let’s just talk and see what comes up,” and I mean you just have to go through that creative exercise.

Andrew: I see. Okay. Who’s Noah Wise or is it Wise? Noah Wise?

Latif: Noah Wise. He is our first customer success manager and he’s based out of our London office.

Andrew: London? What does it mean to be a customer success . . . what is it called? A customer success officer?

Latif: Manager, yes.

Andrew: Manager. What does that mean for you guys?

Latif: So traditionally, in SaaS or a company’s sort of pre-five years ago there was customer support, and there was account management, and then there is sales. And to a certain degree, that exists very much today. What we recognized since we had a demand generation model where all of our leads come inbound. We need someone that’s going to be able to help them from the support level, that’s going to help them close a deal, and be able to take their account onboard, 10, 20, 50, product managers and own that whole cycle for certain deal sizes under a certain threshold.

And a lot of the times in traditional it’s a handoff. You have a customer success person who’s just handling tickets, and you’ve got someone who’s going in through the procurement cycle and then you hand it off to an account manager.

We wanted someone that was what we call a full stack customer success agent. And a full stack person has those skills to do all of those things. And so, we’ve hired to build our business around customer success, what is it that the user has at each journey and can one person touch all of those points so that they’re always dealing with the same person.

And that makes their experience as a customer so much more delightful and they’re more likely to buy with us. In fact, that’s how we won the New York Times as one of our big premier customers through that experience, and I think that really speaks volumes for the way the team is structured here.

Andrew: Speaking of a team, you grow that fast. One of the issues is, how do you communicate with everyone, right?

Latif: Yeah.

Andrew: Talk to me about how that’s a problem first. Like, what’s an example of bad team communication? I keep reading about how Slack wants to solve that. That people can’t find stuff inside a company and they waste, I don’t know, they always have the stats of how many hours they waste. It’s like 20 days a year wasted just trying to find stuff within an organization. It is a problem. You’ve told our producer it was. What is it for you guys? How did it express itself?

Latif: Well, I think communication is sort of the fundamental core because they need to learn something. You’re asking a question or you’ve not been told something because you weren’t aligned on it. It’s based to do with knowledge at the end of the day. Slack is a great tool but if you’re a new employee, where are you going to go read what’s happened in the last year? Like, how are you going to catch up?

Andrew: Right. I see.

Latif: And if any scale in organization, if you think about it, probably like in our case, a third of the people started in the last six months, which means a third of the people are still onboarding, which means a third of the people are most likely to still be not in alignment with the rest of the organization, and six months from now, another quarter of the people in the organization. So you’ve got this cascading effect where nobody is ever aligned as a company grows. So it’s a huge problem and I don’t necessarily believe that we’ve solved it the best.

One of the things that we have done though to combat this, and this really works well for us, is each team has a series of lunch and learns that they do biweekly. So a person picks a topic in the organization that they’ve seen, that they’ve learned and they present that to the entire company or to that particular group of people that are interested in that topic. And so, the development teams and engineering teams are very well known for doing this in organizations, but operational teams are not.

Andrew: I see.

Latif: And so, sales and marketing, and our product team and a design team all go through those exercises so that knowledge is transferred and then we document it. And then we take all of that information, we put it into our onboarding document. And so, there’s this upfront knowledge that kind of gets like swooped in like a snowball growing, and then we take that snowball, and we front-load it into our onboarding documentation and then we put that there.

Andrew: How do you keep the onboarding documentation from being out of date or flooded with too much content?

Latif: It’s really a parsing exercise in filtering. It’s an iterative process, to be honest. There’s no silver bullet there. I think it’s just recognizing what’s important, understanding our management techniques, understanding our culture, understanding what’s happened in the last year.

So one simple thing we do is we take a couple of the company meeting slides, we distil that down and we put that, “Here’s what happened. Here are the major things that happened over the last six months with respect to the strategy, the customers, the users, the product.” And so, we give them a good at least conversational piece around what’s happened but we don’t go too much into detail.

Andrew: Where do you put it? What’s the software that you use to keep track of that?

Latif: Well, we’re just using Google slides right now for that.

Andrew: Just Google Slides. So if I come into your company as a new employee, I’m going to get us a collection of Google Slides that I just click through that teaches me what’s happened over the last couple of years of the company?

Latif: Yeah. So we have myself and Roxy, our office manager. We go through those. There’s two versions of it and so, we go through that story together with the new hires.

Andrew: Oh, I see. I don’t even have to read it on my own. You guys will walk me through it.

Latif: We take you through it and we make sure that the right information is surfaced.

Andrew: I’m imagining that one of the things that you put in there is pricing. Why is pricing how it is? No?

Latif: Pricing, I don’t know that pricing is in there actually, our pricing strategy. But I think our pricing strategy does have a lot of room for conversation growth but it, yeah, actually . . .

Andrew: What would be in there? What’s a topic that’s in there?

Latif: Oh, wow. Where to begin. So something called IORs. So this is built around a book called “Turn the Ship Around,” and the book I’m pretty sure your audience is familiar with it.

Andrew: I just had dinner with, not just, I had dinner with the author of that book and my job was to lead the dinner conversation. I just kept leading it into like people’s troubles in their lives. And at the end of the conversation he said, “One of the things I’m learning about you guys here in San Francisco, is you’re all very sad and troubled.” Like, “Oh, I was trying to get into the personal,” like, “I swear we’re not sad,” all right. So sorry. What is it about “Turn the Ship Around”?

Latif: Well, they have this format that they use and I sort of customized it to ours. But I call it IORS. I guess there’s a similar version there. Its intention, options, and results, and so we try to avoid asking for permission in our organization. So one of the things I teach people is that, “If you want to do something you make your intention known as to why you want to do it, and you state what the results are, and what options and trade-offs that you’ve assessed as to why this is the best way to go about it.”

So it’s not like, “Hey, I want to go hire this person because I think it would be cool.” It’s like, “No, you have to put together a structured logical way.” I don’t want to be the person running the ship that everyone comes to permission to me for. I want to be able to make myself, in some sense not obsolete, but more of a gut check towards the management team. And so that would be an example of how we try to foster certain levels of ways of communication in the organization.

Andrew: I see, you know what? I could see how we could use that here at Mixergy. Yesterday as I was driving to Napa where I wanted to work for the day, I got a text message from my assistant saying, “This guest that we’re considering is not a good fit,” and she started listing all the reasons why.

And I’ve said this a million times, anyone at the company can actually say, “Someone’s not a good fit” and just stop them. Kind of like the Toyota assembly line. Anyone can actually pull the cord and stop the assembly line and say, “This piece is broken. Let’s not send it out damaged,” right?

And I think if we had some PowerPoint slide or something with all those, I don’t know, what do you what do you call those things?

Latif: In this particular case it’s just management. It’s management techniques or communication style that we have.

Andrew: If we just had all those techniques down together then you’d know it, “Here’s what we stand for and we can go over it on a regular basis.” We might need to do that in our [inaudible 00:49:29].

Latif: I think it’s because it lives in the CEOs head. It lives in our heads and we just know it intuitively but then when you put it down in an email or a slide and then you start talking about it . . . I remember Michael. I’ll never forget this because I used this example in the company meeting.

I literally pasted a Slack message he wrote me and it said, “Intention, I’d like to go to this event and I’d like to do this and this is the results and this is the number of prospects were going to hit. The results are going to be this on our leads, this is the conversion, and the opportunity and then this is the trade-offs that we’re making by not doing this because I won’t be doing these things.”

And I’m sitting there and I’m like, “Oh my God.” I just have to say, my message was, “Sounds good.” And he got the money to do it, but he didn’t have to have a 20 minute meeting with me, he didn’t have to get my ideas and feedback. He did the research, he told me what he wanted why he wanted it, what the results were and all of a sudden I just said, “If you want anything from me, like, you have to do it this way now. And if you want to . . . ”

Andrew: I see. You just have the ideal way done and now you realize, “Okay, this is what everyone else wants.” So if I want to say for example, “Get an office with a window,” I’m going to have to tell you what we’re losing, why I would do it, or if I want it . . . let’s come up with a more practical answer. Let’s suppose I want to go work from Singapore. I just do the same thing. “Here’s what we’re going to be losing by having me in Singapore, here are the upsides of doing it, here’s what to acquire.” Got it. I see. All right.

Speaking of, by the way, one of the things that you mentioned earlier was that you guys don’t all work from the same office. Why is that important to you?

Latif: Well, it was actually not by design, to be honest with you. One of our first key engineers wanted to stay in Waterloo and he’s too good to pass up. So we immediately split the company when we were four people, two in Toronto, two in KW. And so, since we were a little bit older by this time, we’d recognized that it would make sense that the market is moving in a way where people should be trusted enough to be able to work from . . . if they’re trusted enough to work from wherever they want to for a reasonable amount of time. They can just go six months and maybe take off to France.

But if they need to spend a couple of weeks working from their house or whatnot or working from their family’s home that’s abroad, we would be very much more ready communication wise, we’d have the infrastructure to do that from a tools perspective and people wouldn’t be like, “Why does that person get to do it and I don’t?” And we didn’t want to create that dynamic.

And so what we did actually early on is we just said, “Let’s all go do that.” And so we took the whole team to Costa Rica and there was eight of us at the time that worked from the jungle actually, the rainforest, for a period of a month.

Andrew: I see, and did you actually get work done when you’re in a place with so little internet?

Latif: We made sure that that was the first thing we did. Was that I actually got them to send screenshots of the speed tests and we had multiple sources of speed tests that they sent it to us to make sure that we could work because without internet we would be in a very dire situation.

But secondly, we got way more work done there for a couple of reasons. Number one, you wake up earlier when the sun gets you up earlier. Number two, I think since there was this kind of remote culture people that didn’t get a chance to work together as much, were now collaborating on projects that we had kind of brought forth to the table now that the whole team was there.

And number three is, we spent way more time doing some of those design projects that we needed to do, there was so much more collaboration and people had the sense of urgency just because it was sort of this catalyst for the year. So from my perspective, I think that was actually our best month when for the year, for that quarter I should say.

Andrew: Really. Wow.

Latif: In February we had our best month and so we didn’t want to like start doing correlation and causation here but everything really clicked. And I think people came away, and the most important thing out of all of this is that people came away really happy. People felt a sense of freedom. People felt a sense of control of their destiny with respect to where they worked how they worked and to me that was really a fun experience for the team.

Andrew: What’s your revenue now, annual?

Latif: We are a private company, so we don’t disclose that currently.

Andrew: I know what it is. Can we say whether it’s in the millions, hundreds of thousands, tens of millions can you say anything like that?

Latif: Yeah, it’s between 2 million and 10 million.

Andrew: Between 2 million and 10 million. Are you guys profitable?

Latif: We are not profitable, no, but that’s by design. We very well could be if we chose to.

Andrew: And one of the things that I saw on Product Hunt was a lot of people saying it cost too much and you said, “Yes, you’re not our customer.” Your customer is who?

Latif: Our customer is the SMB and enterprise market. A product manager who exists in a team usually greater than three to five. So companies under 50 employees that want to create one road map every three months are simply on our starter package and we do offer startup pricing to them. But nobody that’s in the enterprise is, Capital One or a big organization that’s a bank, is really going to balk at $600 year. That’s not going to scare them away on our business package, our enterprise package.

Andrew: But the startup package for this is $19 per month?

Latif: Yeah. So $228 a year.

Andrew: Okay. Oh, yeah. That’s the annual plan that I was looking at, got it. And then finally our producer said, “Hey, I asked you a bunch of questions, I grilled you, I got your revenue, but you don’t have to say it publicly,” and then she said, “All right, what did I not ask you?” And you said, “You didn’t know about health. We didn’t discuss that.” Why is health so important for you to have brought up?

Latif: For me I have burnt out a few times, to say the least in my life, when being an entrepreneur and an employee as a product manager. And it really bothered me that everyone just keeps brushing this under the rug. You just got to put in 15 hour days, you’ve got to grind it out. That’s what success looks like. And you listen to even Steve Jobs online. And it’s true, you’ve got to put in hard work. There’s nothing to say that you’re not going to have a couple days a week that are going to be really pushy.

But the sustainability of that for your team’s sake, for you being emotionally intelligent and healthy and present requires making sure the balance in your life is there.

So there’s this four burner theory that talks about sort of the health, work, friends, and family and to be really successful you need to cut away one of those and to be crazy successful you need to cut away two. And so for me, I don’t fall into the second category where I’m just going to start cutting out health and cutting out family.

I think it’s important that there is a balance. So for me personally, what I do every day at 3:30, I actually go to the gym. I set the tone that if the organization or someone wants to leave in the middle of the day for an hour to go to the gym, that’s totally fine. There isn’t a policy of ass in chair. We don’t care about that.

And I listen to a lot of Tim Ferriss as well. So I’ve picked up a lot of the healthy diets. I’ve picked up a lot of the routines and when I put that in my life I realize I can actually work longer hours even though I take some time away to recharge in the middle of the day. But I get two halves of my day back. So I get this 9:00 to 3:00 at 100% and then I get like 5:00 to 8:00. And I feel fresh at like 7:30, 8:00, I can actually go out and do dinner. I can meet some friends.

I don’t feel like at 6:30 drained because I just went all out for 10 hours straight. And I think, if you want to be a sustainable CEO founder and have a lot of good energy in the organization, that’s something that’s just really critical for us. And so we pay everyone’s gym memberships here, we cover a lot of the health costs because to me that’s how you build a long-term sustainable team that feels good about what they’re doing at all times.

Andrew: What’s your workout? What do you do?

Latif: Oh, wow. I do a bunch of stuff. So I rock climb probably once or twice a week. I’ve been rock climbing for a few years, done a little bit of outdoor stuff. At the gym, I will do two days of weights and then I will do two days of probably a mix of cardio and plyometrics. So it’s a balance. It’s not like college days where it’s like five days of weights and one day off of carb loading and eating. I don’t do that anymore. So I try to stay more balanced with my approach there.

Andrew: Makes sense. Cool. And I am still looking at this Product Hunt. A lot of people really like the design of it. What I admired was that when someone said, “This doesn’t make sense. How could it be so expensive?” You came back in and you said, “I know our product. I know our customers. Here’s why and I’m not going to try to make you happy by changing the price for you.” Makes sense.

Congratulations on your success. The website for anyone who wants to check it out is roadmunk.com. And if you want to take advantage of any of the offers from our two sponsors, well if you want to hire your first great developer or your next great developer go check out toptal.com/mixergy. And if you want to learn how marketing automation could be made so easy that you actually will use all the features of your email software, go check out activecampaign.com/mixergy. I’m grateful to them for sponsoring and Latif, it’s good to have you on, man.

Latif: Thank you for having me, Andrew.

Andrew: Cool. Thanks, everyone. Bye.


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