Pattern for creating a profitable startup?

Dane Maxwell is a founder of Paperless Pipeline, software that simplifies real estate transaction management and of The foundation, which can help you start a software business even if you have no experience.

Dane Maxwell

Dane Maxwell

The Foundation

Dane Maxwell is a founder of Paperless Pipeline, software that simplifies real estate transaction management and of The Foundation, which can help you start a software business even if you have no experience.


Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of and the guy who should always have his mic a little bit closer to him.

Dane Maxwell is a guy who’s been on here multiple times. The other day we were talking and he said everyone needs to learn entrepreneurship skills no matter where they are in life or what they want to do, even if they’re musicians like the many musicians who are going to music school with him right now. Dane should know. He is the founder of Paperless Pipeline. It’s software that simplifies real estate transaction management without having the office that uses it change the way they work.

He’s also the founder of The Foundation, where anyone can start an internet software business even if they have no experience. Both companies have done well. We can ask him about his revenues and I plan to for those businesses. And this whole thing is sponsored by two great companies. The first will help you hire your next great developer. Toptal is their name. The second will help you actually close sales. They’re called Pipedrive. I’ll tell you more about them later. Dane, good to have you here.

Dane: I’m super, super excited to be here, man. I think I was on originally five or six years ago. So, coming back for the final entrepreneurial interview of my career through Mixergy.

Andrew: Because you’re not going to be an entrepreneur anymore?

Dane: I don’t think so.

Andrew: You did something really interesting. Before I sat here this morning, you fired off this long–I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a message this long on Skype. And it’s really detailed. It’s like, “Andrew, here are all the things I’d like for people to understand and take away from this conversation.” The first one was something about not feeling like you were supposed to be an entrepreneur. Do you want to walk me through what you sent over and why you said that?

Dane: Well, yeah. The big reveal and the thing I think would be shocking even for me to say out loud is that I don’t feel I was ever supposed to be an entrepreneur. I guess I was supposed to because I was for a while. But you go back to somebody’s like, “I don’t feel like an entrepreneur. It’s not my identity being an entrepreneur,” or, “I’m supposed to be an employee.” When really it’s not really a matter of where you see yourself as an identity as it is about acquiring the skills that an entrepreneur would have.

So, rather than focusing on, “Is my identity an entrepreneur? Is my identity a musician? Is my identity an artist?” I just focused on acquiring the skills of an entrepreneur instead of focusing on who I might think I am. And then before I know it, I’ve been called an entrepreneur by all these people. I did want to be an entrepreneur. Reflecting back now at 33, I’m really happy I did and I’m glad I did it for various reasons we’ll talk about.

But what I want people to know is you don’t have to feel like an entrepreneur to be one. You can just learn the skills of entrepreneurship and go ahead and use those skills in any way you want–build a company, be an artist, be a mom, etc. Does that make sense? Am I clear?

Andrew: It does make sense. I want to make sure people see how grounded you are and how much you’ve done with this, that you’re not just coming in from the sidelines saying, “You don’t have to feel like an entrepreneur to be one.” You built these two businesses. You told me in private yesterday what you were doing with Paperless Pipeline. What’s the revenue there and what’s the revenue for The Foundation?

Dane: Well, The Foundation over the last five years is somewhere around $6 million. And I didn’t keep–I probably kept less than $1 million of that business because I put so much money back into it to truly try to support students, build an expensive team to take care of the company.

Paperless Pipeline is a beast, in my opinion. It’s a bootstrap software. It’s a multi-seven figure valuation with ease. And every single day $3,000 to $10,000 is deposited in the bank from that business, every day. I will probably never have to work again. The kind of money you can make if you listen to me is a lot. It’s not the kind of like, “Hey, I’ve got a little extra side income.” It’s like legacy-changing money because we’re talking about software as a service.

If you look at software as a service, you know the valuations, Andrew. You can sell a software company for eight to ten times the revenue where the average company you could sell eight to ten times for fast-growing SaaS–let’s just say an average growing SaaS you sell for three to five times revenue. This is data from “The Automatic Customer,” the book “The Automatic Customer” by John Warrillow. I think that’s his name. Anyway, three to five times revenue.

So, if you have a million-dollar restaurant, you’ll probably sell for three times EBITDA or net profit or whatever it is. So, if you have a restaurant, maybe you’re making $200,000 in profit maybe, who knows? I’m not privy on restaurants. You might make $600,000 when you sell that company. Well, if you have a $1 million a year SaaS, you’ll sell that for generally a minimum of 3x revenue, which means $3 million, which is six times more than you could if you built a restaurant.

If it’s not really a matter of identity, it’s not really a matter of passion and a matter of learning skills, why not learn skills to build the most lucrative business on the planet and then set your family up for generations to come? Software is no different than learning meditation. It’s no different than learning guitar. It’s a set of skills that you acquire.

Now, I think the skills of entrepreneurship are even more important, but here I am saying I don’t feel I was supposed to be an entrepreneur, yet I have all the skills of software. Software turned out to be really fun. And I don’t even know how to code.

Andrew: But it’s hard. I see so many people try to build businesses that don’t work. I can probably do more interviews with people who failed in software than I have with people who succeed in it because it’s not that easy, right?

Dane: They’re probably not listening to me. It’s a little prideful. There’s probably a lot more nuance than that. So, I had a buddy of mine start a software business and he was going to do like employee reviews. He had this great idea that he came up with where he was going to help employees review employees all year round instead of the year review.

So, he had an email that would go out and you’d review your employees. I was like, “Don’t you dare fucking build that until you sell it and don’t you dare build it until you can actually see that the employee behavior would actually open an email, would actually click a link and would actually fill out a survey about their employees.” He’s like, “I need the software. I need to send the email.” I’m like, “No. You can build a Wufoo form. You could build any online form. You can manually send out emails and test this idea to see if the behavior will click.” No. He doesn’t do that.

So, six months in, the business has failed. It’s tanked. He’s living in this house with me. He says, “Dane, some entrepreneur you are.” This was a funny moment. “Some entrepreneur you are. You’ve got a house full of your friends and you say entrepreneurship is so easy, but none of your friends are successful. Some entrepreneur you are, some teacher you are.” He’s like, “Why aren’t any of your friends successful?” I said, “It’s easy. You’re not fucking listening to me. You didn’t do what I said.”

Yeah. If you guess on a software idea, if it’s going to change the behavior of someone who’s going to use it and you haven’t tested that, if you spend more than 12 weeks building the first version, if you do all these different things that put you in a place where you’re risking yourself, of course software could be really hard.

Why would you put yourself in that situation? Well, because you haven’t built the proper skills to reduce risk. You haven’t built the proper skills to test an idea before it exists. Just that principle alone, Andrew, like I say, “Let’s test this idea,” that works outside of software.

Andrew: You say that you’re really good at pattern recognition, that that’s what you’re doing now when you’re studying music. That’s what you’re doing when you’re learning to meditate at this meditation retreat you’re on that we’re talking to you from. What are the patterns? What are the patterns you’ve recognized that work?

Dane: Well, yeah. I want to dress up this pattern recognition more so people really take it to heart. I’m going to sit back, so my mic may clip my hoodie. Just to everyone is listening, I’m just going to sit back and relax here a little more. I’m relaxed, I’m just like super fired up about this stuff because I want people to understand it. I want to talk about pattern recognition, but it really is the secret of potency and power in any industry that you choose.

Andrew: Okay.

Dane: Is my mic okay?

Andrew: Yeah. It is. I’ll let you know if it starts banging into your hoodie and if it does, we might have to go back to that Norton t-shirt you were wearing before, which I really dig.

Dane: Yeah. It’s not Norton Antivirus, but it should be.

Andrew: It’s Norton the motorcycle.

Dane: Oh, is it?

Andrew: Yeah.

Dane: I just bought it at Target. I need help with my wardrobe. So, the secret to power and potency in any industry, it’s the difference between, for lack of a better word, the difference between chumps and champions and the difference between an expert and a novice. More importantly, it’s the difference between someone who can fly to the top in an industry in a few years versus someone who’s in the same industry and stuck there for 30 years.

The difference between the chumps and the champs, the experts and the novice, the people at the top and the bottom can be summed up as simply stated, pattern recognition and articulation. If you want to be successful as an expert in any field, all you need to focus on is pattern recognition and articulation.

So, what this means is I want to–so, you asked me what the patterns are, patterns in starting a successful software company. I don’t know. I kind of understand the patterns on more of a situational basis. It’s like, “What do you do here?” “I probably follow this pattern?” “What do you do here?” “I’d probably follow this pattern.”

So, what I want you to understand is you don’t really have to look at an expert and wish to be them. You don’t have to look at an expert and envy them. You don’t even have to look at an expert and think you’ll never do that. You can just choose to activate pattern recognition and then articulate it.

If you look at experts, what you’re doing is you’re finding patterns and they’re articulating them. You find them in books. So, we have a number of successful students in The Foundation. The successful students have a very, very common denominator. They’re excellent at pattern recognition and articulation. Well, because they learn from me. I’ve got students who are more successful than me because I know how to teach so well that people are able to go off and do great things.

Andrew: Give an example.

Dane: Yeah. One of our students is Chandler Bolt. He’s maybe 23. He’s 24. He’s got a multi-million company. He was in The Foundation. We teach how to build a software company in The Foundation but more importantly is we teach the fundamental patterns to be successful in business when you’re starting something from scratch, when you’re starting something from nothing. So, Chandler took our process of pattern-recognition of the five or six steps to start a business and he just applied it to his business model of publishing and how to publish a bestselling book in 90 days.

So, our patterns of The Foundation, he just wrapped into a different industry. And it’s just patterns. Let’s take a concept like meditation and the idea that meditation is hard because you can’t focus. Like you hear, “I can’t sit down and meditate. I can’t even focus.” Well, here I have a book called “The Illuminated Mind.” It’s like freaking nuts. It’s like brain science and Buddhism and meditation. I don’t particularly subscribe to–I’m not going to say I’m Buddhist or Christian. I’m not going to say any of those. It’s not about Buddhism. It’s just about meditation.

Here are the ten stages of meditation, aka the ten patterns of meditation. Stage one, establish a practice where you sit down and never miss the session. Stage two, interrupted attention and overcoming mind-wandering. Oh, it’s important and worth committing to memory that the untrained mind produces distractions that lead to forgetting, which results to mind-wandering. In stage two, you only work with the last event, mind-wandering. You’re going to take your mind-wandering and you’re going to notice it and every time you’re going to bring it back to the breath.

Then all of a sudden you realize that you’re not a victim to your attention. You don’t sit down and say, “My mind doesn’t work. I can’t focus.” That’s a muscle. It’s a skill you build by just bringing your attention back to your breath over and over again until you’ve built that. But if you don’t understand the patterns of meditation, you might make the mistake of, “I can’t meditate because my wanders.”

If you don’t understand the patterns of business, you may say, “I can’t be an entrepreneur because I can’t start a business.” No. There are patterns in business, patterns in meditation, patterns with a guitar fret board. Once you understand these mysterious things, it’s not a matter of anything other than you understanding a pattern and that mind wandering is that first stage that you get over as a meditator.

Andrew: Okay. So, you’ve got patterns that you noticed all successful SaaS companies go through?

Dane: That’s hard. There are a number of ways to start a successful SaaS. There are some fundamental patterns, like build the first version in 12 weeks or less. Have a customer in mind the whole time you’re building it that’s yes or no’ing things as they’re being developed. Ideally you get money from them in advance. There are those kinds of patterns.

I like to look at like let’s say one of our most successful students, they do like $10 million a year or so in sales. That’s an insane number. Well, if you look at what happens, most of the students look at this guy like an anomaly.

Andrew: Who is this guy?

Dane: Sam Ovens. So, Sam no longer credits me as his first teacher. This could be a little controversial. Sam will say he was struggling and then he found a secret and then he made a lot of money. Well, I’m Sam’s secret. Anyway, let me tell you what’s more important than that is that most of the students in The Foundation look to Sam like he’s some superstar.

Andrew: He has become that lately. He really has mythologized himself.

Dane: Well, let me tell you why.

Andrew: Okay.

Dane: What do you think I’m going to say? I’ve been harping on it the whole time. Let me tell you what Sam did that nobody else that I know of has done yet. Sam read every book that I recommended. He also read books I didn’t recommend. He then went through every book and highlighted all the important points. I didn’t tell him to do this. Sam’s just a genius and did this on his own. I didn’t understand pattern recognition is what I was doing at the time. It’s only reflecting back that I’ve understood like, “Oh my god, this is the thing.”

There are lots of things. But in terms of this is just a really nice thing to understand. So, he highlights the books. He types them all out. He reads four books on, say, direct response marketing. He highlights them all out. He prints them all out. Then he reads the highlights from all the four books over and over and over again and all of a sudden he sees across the four books.

What does he start to see? He starts to see patterns. All of a sudden, he’s experientially embodied patterns. His confidence is through the roof and now he’s just crushing it out of the park. Well, I will pridefully say who is his teacher? Me. He would have been successful no matter who his teacher was because he was unconsciously doing pattern recognition. He was in his garage when he started. He couldn’t even afford The Foundation. He had to have his girlfriend actually pay for The Foundation.

Andrew: Is that right?

Dane: Yeah, when he started. But here’s the important point. Guys, quit victimizing–if this is you, quit victimizing yourself to say, “I couldn’t do what Sam did.” Sam just fucking did pattern recognition.

Andrew: Dane, are you saying that you know the pattern ad that’s what you’re teaching at The Foundation or that you’re teaching people how to find the patterns and then apply them?

Dane: Both.

Andrew: So, what’s the pattern? What’s the process that you give them?

Dane: Find a painful problem.

Andrew: Okay.

Dane: Yeah. So, find a painful problem and then get it validated before you built it or build it and then pre-sell it and then go build it and then launch it, instead of build the product first and then go to market with it, which is a lot of patterns that a lot of companies do, which is a great pattern of failing, usually. You start with customer, start with pain, start with validation, start with presale, then go to product.

And this process is what we use to build software, but it works phenomenally well and our entrepreneurs go off to do incredible things. Chandler has done it in the industry of publishing all because of patterns. By the way, this is my final interview as an entrepreneur. It will be your final chance to learn from me and The Foundation before I go off. That’s one of the reasons Andrew and I wanted to do this. It’s kind of like, “Andrew, Thank you for having me on Mixergy five or six years ago and I want my farewell interview here to be with you.

Andrew: I hope this won’t be our last interview, but I can understand if it’s our last one with you as an entrepreneur. I can see your passion has shifted towards music now that you can do it?

Dane: Can I say a couple more things?

Andrew: Yeah.

Dane: I don’t know where I’ve shifted to, but I’m really excited about it. I just want to let you guys know that you can choose to be potent and powerful if you just start looking for patterns and then second if you can actually go ahead and articulate them, watch your whole world open up.

Andrew: Wait, I still don’t get the articulation part and then I also want to know–

Dane: Talk about them.

Andrew: Just talk about it. Once you see a pattern, start talking about it. Why is it important for me to start talking about a pattern that I see?

Dane: Well, you become an expert as soon as you’re able to document a pattern.

Andrew: I see.

Dane: All of a sudden I’m some business expert. All I fucking did was articulate a pattern. And I notice very, very similar patterns in music as I do in entrepreneurship. For example, I haven’t told you this yet.

If you go to San Francisco and Silicon Valley and I was there five years ago one day and I’ve got these profitable SaaS businesses just churning cash, in my opinion, not the billion-dollar valuation type things you hear in Silicon Valley. But I asked people in San Francisco like, “Hey, what’s the scoop here? What are you guys up to?” They’re like, “We’re discovering the next sexy big idea and then we’re going to go raise money and then we’re going to go build it.”

Well, that is a very, very common pattern in San Francisco–come up with sexy idea, raise money, then somehow you’ve made it if you’ve raised m one when you still don’t even have a paying customer, somehow you’ve made it, which is asinine to me.

But what’s even more asinine is when I was in San Francisco long enough, I actually starting to that way too for a little bit. I was like, “Fuck, all I need to do is get an investor. What’s happening to my brain?” And in music, I say the same thing. They’re like, “So, what do you do in business?” I’m like, “I don’t come up with sexy ideas. I find painful problems, I find a customer, I charge a price and I generate a profit. That’s what I do.” They’re like, “Interesting.”

Well, in music, I have found these great musicians. I walked up to them and they’re phenomenal. I was like, “Hey, guys, what’s going on?” “We’re focused on getting a record deal and focused on doing this and this and this. What are you focused on?” I was like, “I’m focused on getting my first 10,000 fans.” “Oh, yeah. . .” So, it’s like I’m just doing my thing.

Andrew: Let me do a quick sponsorship message and then I’m going to come back with a challenging question that I was a little holding back on but I don’t think I should. The first sponsor is Toptal. If you need to hire a developer, let’s suppose for example that you’ve got a business that actually has a customer who’s paid you for something and now it’s time for you to go out there and actually create it and you don’t have a developer, go to Toptal. They will get you the best developer out there. That’s one of the things that they do.

Actually, you know what? That’s a little exaggerated. There is no the best developer out there. What I want to say is that they’re a network of top developers. They really pride themselves on spending so much time trying to figure out who the best of the best developers are, the top three percent. They’re so proud of that. That means that 97 percent of the people they look at get rejected. 97 percent of the people they look at aren’t good fits.

I’ve seen some of those people. I’ve had them over to dinner. I remember sitting with these two people who are each founders of companies who each at some point in their careers applied to work at Toptal because they were trying to make money on the side and they rejected them. It was a little awkward, but it was also a point of pride that Toptal wants the best of the best. That doesn’t mean that because they don’t have the best development chops that they’re not great entrepreneurs, but it does mean that they’re not going to make it into Toptal.

Once they get those best of the best, what Toptal does is they say to entrepreneurs if you’re looking for someone, come to us. We’ll match you up with the right person and then you can start working with them like they are you full-time on staff people. You can work with them full time or if you decide you want to work part time you can do that.

I had this one entrepreneur who I interviewed a while back who heard me say this and he said, “I’m going to try it. I’ll try Toptal and see how good they are.” So, Derek Johnson from Tatango signed up and he said, “It’s exactly like you said, Andrew. I didn’t have to go through 20 to 30 interviews. I interviewed two people,” he told me, “And then I picked the one person that I liked. Though they were both good, I wanted one person.”

And then Derek says, “I work with them and not only to I work with them full-time, I’m actually doing a full-time plus deal where the guy works more than full-time and he’s better than most engineers I’ve ever seen. He’s actually as good as my CTO.” That’s how good Toptal is. I’m going you the full name, not just saying Derek J. or some guy who I heard on Mixergy. I want you to be able to say if you ever meet him, “Is this true?” and know that he will rave more than I am because I’m holding back. That’s how good Toptal is.

I urge you if you’re looking for developers to go to and then add a /Mixergy at the end because if you go to, they’re going to give you an incredible deal that they are only giving me because they are long-time Mixergy fans, the two cofounders. Here’s what they’re saying–Mixergy listeners are going to go get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when they pay for their first 80 hours.

That’s 80 hours of developer credit you get and that’s in addition to the no risk trial period of up to two weeks. I’m really glad they’re a sponsor. I’m so proud of having them here as a sponsor and I urge you guys to check out

Here’s a challenging question, Dane. If you got the pattern and if you know how to recognize patterns and you know how to teach this, why isn’t everybody who’s gone through The Foundation successfully running a software company?

Dane: I’m actually only realizing the significance of pattern recognition as of like two months ago. So, the teaching is improving. Probably because I just haven’t taught it. But I’ll be teaching it in this next latest class.

Andrew: Because you haven’t taught it?

Dane: No. It’s the first time I’ve ever talked about this publicly.

Andrew: Oh, you mean patterns.

Dane: Yeah, like understand patterns, the importance of this, the importance of–I made the mistake of over-simplifying entrepreneurship to saying, “Hey, it’s easy. You can do it.” But what I didn’t realize is that I’ve built a Porsche that I can just get in and drive. But if I give someone else a Porsche and they’ve never driven before and it’s a manual transmission and they’ve never driven it before, they’re not going to know how to drive that Porsche. Well, that Porsche is the neural structures of your brain that need to build around the idea of skills and entrepreneurship that get built through pattern recognition.

So, yeah, we’re probably going to have a lot more success students in this class than we ever have. When it speaks to the, “Why doesn’t anyone have a SaaS?” A lot of people just give up. They give up. They stop. They decide they want to build a different business than software. Like chandler, would you consider him a failure because he didn’t build a SaaS? I hope not. He’s got a really great company with book publishing.

The guys and gals that don’t innately understand pattern recognition, I don’t think they do so hot, which is why we’re going to be really harping on this publicly. Does that answer your question?

Andrew: I’ve seen some of them actually do the work. They’re not dropping out. They’re not being lazy. But they still haven’t had that big success.

Dane: Yeah. They’re not really listening to us very well. Some of them just like listen to us to the tee and then some like partially listen to us and then others are like–we actually broke it into a bunch of different categories. But the ones that take action and don’t get results, we have not adequately trained in pattern recognition.

I’ve never really heard anybody talk about this. What will eat a new entrepreneur alive, especially if they’re just starting out, is what I call the micro decision. It’s like the hundred little decisions that you need to make to send an email–which word do you use here? How do you sign off here?

So, if you don’t have adequate pattern recognition and you’re just like a monkey following a couple step by step things and you don’t understand the patterns of successful entrepreneurship, then you’re going to run into those micro decisions you’re not going to know. We can’t really teach every little micro decision that’s going to come up.

So, if 100 students join The Foundation, for example, we’ll have 30 to 40 left at the end. Of the 30 to 40 left at the end, we’ll probably have 20 or so that will have a really great shot at being successful at entrepreneurship. Those 20 work hard. They’re committed. The other 80–30 to 40 of those leave. They quit. Life happens. It’s funny, in the monastery here, the head monk was in The Foundation.

Andrew: Really?

Dane: Yeah. For those listening, I’m in a monastery meditating right now. That’s why I’m in this closet. But the head monk, he was in The Foundation. He was a failure. He dropped out four months except for the fact that he now uses everything learned in The Foundation to innovate this monastery. So, it’s kind of a piss poor statement to say, “I’ve seen people that aren’t successful.”

It’s like if people aren’t successful they’ve decided to fail. I’ve made this shit as possible for anyone to do. If you decide that you don’t want to do entrepreneurship–this is the thing about the six-month–The Foundation is a six-month program. I think that’s how much time you need to really start to get your brain and the neural structures in your brain to acclimate to the world of business so you can start just behaving automatically.

If you go through The Foundation and you decide you don’t want to build a software but you have the new neural structures for business, you go on to be pretty successful in other fields. So, if you’re a musician and you have these patterns of marketing and entrepreneurship, it makes a big difference.

Andrew: You are good at picking up patterns and you’re good at remembering them and often having a story or research to support it, which has always fascinated me about you.

Dane: Really?

Andrew: Yeah. The example that I have is you and I in preparation for today’s interview talked yesterday and you happened to get really going on this idea of pattern recognition, how it’s everywhere. You talked about the monastery and how it’s part of meditation and then you said it’s part of music and you grabbed the guitar quickly and started to show me, “Here’s how you play music. If you notice, there are these patterns. All I’m doing is repeating these patterns and if I want to play a song, all I do is mix them up.” I thought that was really interesting. I’ve seen you do that in other parts of your life too.

Dane: I’ll take this to another level. I think that I’ve been blessed with some sort of advanced pattern recognition thing in my nervous system. A lot of times I don’t really know what I’m going to do in business until I’m in the moment. So, let’s take for example how easy it is–I’ve got some notes I’m looking at–so how easy it is to make money if you focused on selling profit. So much untapped profit is in existing businesses, so much. You just walked around a business, you’ll just see profit lying everywhere.

Andrew: What do you mean by that?

Dane: I’ll tell you exactly what I’m talking about. So, inefficiencies in how they run the business and then inadequate marketing to their customer base. Their customer base isn’t buying often enough, isn’t buy enough and coming back. They aren’t marketing to their current customers. Most of the acquisition costs in business is acquiring the initial customer. That’s where most of the money is spent. Blockbuster spent $350-$400 to acquire a customer. But they were only making $220 on them a year.

Andrew: The video store business.

Dane: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand how much did Netflix acquire customers for? $20. Netflix is now here. Blockbuster is not. What about AOL? You remember getting those AOL CDs in the mail? AOL spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars to acquire customers that they only made half of what they spent on. AOL no longer exists. Do you see the pattern? Don’t spend more to acquire a customer than what they make you.

That’s just to say the upfront acquisition costs. But as soon as you have a customer, most businesses don’t know what to do after they’ve sold a customer their first thing. So, if you just focused on, for example, specializing in the patterns of how to maximize lifetime value for businesses who acquire customers and then you’re this little side guy on the side.

You go into different business industries and you help people maximize revenue from their current customers, you would be rich for the rest of your life. But that’s not the point. The point is the best, easiest, fastest whatever way if you want to make money is sell profit.

Andrew: Give me an example of a business that sells profit.

Dane: Every business sells profit.

Andrew: How does Paperless Pipeline do that, your company?

Dane: You pay $400 for Paperless Pipeline. So, you go paperless. So, you no longer need to use file folders. The cost of those file folders covers just the cost of Pipeline, not in addition to you being able to expand your office, have more agents work from home and bring in more revenue that way. If you’re in B2B, focus on selling profit.

But what I wanted to say is this sort of advanced nervous system thing I think I have–in this next Foundation class that I’m doing, I’m not going to teach as much. I’m just going to show people how I start companies. So, I’m going to get on a webinar and I’m going to start cold calling people and I’m going to start creating products on the fly. People are going to watch me create as opposed to me teaching. All the teaching is already patterned and systematized in The Foundation.

What I’ve realized is when people ask me a business question, I’m kind of like, “Do this, do this.” This one girl was like, “Hey, so how would you get customers for me as a naturopathic doctor?” I’m like, “Okay. Well, you could do this, this, this.” Then all of a sudden I was like, “Can I just get you your first customer right now?” “Sure.” I was like, “Alright, who do you want to target?” “Well, I want to target companies and do wellness programs for their employees.” ”

That’s great. Let’s pick someone to call. Let’s say that you give naturopathic shots to car salesmen to increase their focus, increase their productivity, etc. Let’s call one of those.” Car salesmen, car dealership, Encinitas, California, this one looks good. It’s ringing. Her face is like, her eyes are wide. She’s like, “What is happening here?” I was like, “By the way, I have no idea what I’m about to say.”

“Hello?” I was like, “Can I speak with your office manager, please?” “Yeah, may I ask who’s calling?” “This is Dane. I’m calling about purchasing a car.” So, they pass me off to the manager and then the manager gets on I’m like, “Hey, I’m happy to be talking to you. I’ve just got one quick thing I wanted to ask you.” He’s like, “Sure.”

I didn’t say my name. I didn’t say anything. I said, “I’ve got one quick thing I wanted to ask you.” “Sure, what is it?” I was like, “We’re coming up with product that we’d like to offer car salesmen but we’re not sure if it’s any good. So, I wanted to tell you what it was and see if you think it’s good or not.” “Sure, what is it?” “So, we’re thinking about giving naturopathic vitamin B12 shots to your car salesmen to increase their focus and increase their productivity and sell you more cars.” Selling profit, right? He’s like, “Oh yeah, I’m not interested in that.”

Just silent. “Yeah, okay.” “Yeah, we just drink Red Bull here.” I was like, “Red Bull is terrible for you,” I’m thinking this in my head. “So, you guys just do Red Bull.” I just stayed silent. Thirty seconds go by. Not a word gets said. All of a sudden, he just says, “Well, I’ll give it a shot. How much are they?” I was like, “We’ll do them at cost for you.” “How much is it?” I’m like, “How much are they?” She’s like, “$25.”

“It will be $25.” “$25, that’s it? I’ll have all my salesmen do it tomorrow.” “Great. Cool.” And then he’s like, “This will be great so we can stop drinking Red Bull.” “Alright. Does 9:30 work tomorrow? I’ll send one of our associates out.” “Yeah, that works great.” “Alright. We’ll have an associate out to you tomorrow at 9:30.” I hang up, put the phone down. The girl’s jaw is just like, “What the fuck just happened?”

Well, I just demonstrated my potency and power in business because I know how to drive the Porsche because I built the patterns. I know how to sell profit. I know that if a guy says, “No, we just drink Red Bull,” I know not to talk him out of that. I know not to ask him why he’s not interested because then he’s going to justify his position as a no. I know just to sit there and let the space unfold and for him to come to his own higher-self conclusion in that he doesn’t need me to persuade anything.

That will happen, selling profit, pattern recognition, etc. You can ask questions about that in a moment, but that’s just how easy business can be. She now has seven to eight or nine car salesmen that she can see every week and make $1,000 a week from on one fucking phone call. I’m telling you it can be this simple once you take the time to build the pattern.

But this is the thing. I don’t actually know what I’m going to do until I do it. This is how much fun my life becomes in business. For example, on one webinar–we’ve got these patterns. One way you can sell profit is–let’s take the greater question. How can you start a software company from nothing, from scratch? You’ve never done software before. You don’t know any of this stuff. That’s what I’m asking myself.

So, what I did is I fired up a webinar once. I said, “Alright, guys. Instead of teaching you today I thought I’d cold call some companies. You guys want to hear me cold call?” Everyone is like, “Oh my god, yeah, please.” I was like, “Here we go. Let’s pick doggie daycares.”

I call up the first doggie daycare and it just went awful. I was like, “By the way, guys, I have no idea what I’m about to say but if they pick up. . .” I was like, “Hey. . .” and then I froze. I was like, “Um, hey, I have a quick question for you. I’m a new entrepreneur and I’m thinking about getting into helping doggie daycares with their business in some way, but I’m not actually sure what I would offer a doggie daycare. I’m curious if you actually have anything you’re needing right now.”

It actually worked pretty well. The person was quite taken aback like, “That’s a really good question.” I didn’t say, “Hey, this is Dane Maxwell with so and so.” I just went right in. It’s a pattern, by the way. She’s like, “Well, our manager is not here right now. Maybe you can call back.” I was like, “Well, thank you so much.” And then I hang up. I was like, “Alright, guys, I know exactly what I’m going to do on the second call.”
I make the second call. They pick up and they said, “Hey, so and so doggie daycare.” I’m like, “Hey, I’ve got a quick question for you and I think you’re the person to ask and if it’s not you, I think you’ll know who to refer me to after I ask the question.” “Yeah, sure.”

“So, I’m wanting to get started in business as an entrepreneur and I’m wanting to help doggie daycares become more efficient. What I’d like to do is I’d like to come in and offer you guys a free thing. That free thing is I’d like to systematize your company for you, which basically means I would look at everything that your employees do and I would just type them into a good systems document to increase the value of the company, help new hires out.”

“I don’t want to charge anything for it because I don’t know if I’d be any good. What I’d like to do is I’d like to come in and maybe meet with your owner and maybe just systematize one thing. We can see how it goes. And then if you like that, maybe we can go about systematizing the entire company for you.” “Yeah, sure. When do you want to come in?”

Now, what have I done there? I’ve done pattern recognition to the max. I’m using pattern recognition to find patterns in this business to sell something to solve their patterns. What do you think I get exposed to if I systematize a company?

Andrew: Problems in this business, inefficiencies.

Dane: Everything. So, now all of a sudden I’m like, “I can just sell myself as a systemization expert.” All I’m doing is typing up the steps and I’m helping companies become more valuable. Very few people are actually selling this. Most business owners would take you up on this offer and now you have this relationship built and you can build a software around inefficiencies. I hope as you’re listening to this you’re like, “God damn, this is incredible,” because it is incredible. It’s kind of how I operate in business because I read the right books and failed a lot.

Andrew: Yeah. You once gave me a recording of one of those phone calls that I published on Mixergy on the site. It was with a pool cleaning guy. What was it?

Dane: Pool guy.

Andrew: Yeah, a pool guy. You were trying to figure out what his problems were and what he’d pay for it. We should link that up in the comments. If anyone wants it, let me know and we’ll send it to you. If we get enough requests, we’ll add it to the comments.

Dane: Yeah. That’s five years ago. This systems idea, this is like gangster. Anybody can do this, anybody can get started. And then when it comes to finding a developer, let’s say you go to Toptal, well Toptal in order for them to make money, you need to buy the developer through there. But you can actually find developers that will develop your software for a percentage of revenue. So then you actually have a developer like one of our top students. He’s like, “Can I pay you?” The developer is like, “I don’t want money. I want a percentage of revenue.”

So, you can actually get the software built for free, essentially. You give equity, so it’s not necessarily free. You need to find a developer who would be cool with this. It can be hard to find, but they are around and you can do it.

When you tell a developer you’ve got this doggie daycare. You’ve got this software you want to build, most developers end up building software that never gets used. So, it’s an exciting world of building software. I just got a text today from a guy who’s making his first–he’s a Foundation grad. He had his first $1,000 day and he’s selling a freaking Google bar extension to Amazon sellers.

Andrew: A Google–like a Chrome toolbar to Amazon sellers to keep track of what they’re selling and what else they could be selling?

Dane: I don’t know. But what I told him, I told him a pattern, sell tools to people in growing industry. So, Amazon sellers is a growing industry. I sold him a tool. Don’t participate in the growing industry, sell the tools to the growing industry, patterns.

Andrew: I’ve got to tell people, speaking of systems, about software called Pipedrive because it changed the way we do business here. If anyone out there is selling one on one, it’s going to change their business because it’s a tool that allows you to implement the processes that you’re learning about your business.

Here’s what it did for us, Dane. For a long time, we did not have enough interviewees on Mixergy. I would sit here in the morning and say, “What happened to my guest? I was supposed to have someone here.” Then I would get upset with myself or upset with my team or upset with someone for having dropped the ball and we’d have to scramble at the last minute to get a guest on Mixergy.

Then I learned from one of my interviewees about understanding the systems of your business, of sitting down and actually writing it down. So, I wrote it down. I said, “Here are the steps that we go through in order to book a guest and have them actually show up and record and interview.”

And then I fired up Pipedrive because one of my past interviewees recommended it. I put my process into Pipedrive. Each step of my process got its own column. I still amaze people when I show them my screen and show them how we do it because they see every one of the ten steps that we take clearly laid out. They think that because of my reputation I get guests here. They don’t realize this is a really clearly articulated process. Step one, someone has to suggest a guest. Step two, someone has to approve the guest. Step three, someone finds their email. Step four, send out an email request, etc. all the way to having you here on Mixergy today.

By doing that, when something didn’t work out, I didn’t blame people. If we didn’t have a guest on, I didn’t say, “Who the hell sucks?” or, “I suck,” or, “Why aren’t people paying attention to Mixergy?” I just went back and said, “Where are we not hitting our goals?” The cool thing about Pipedrive is it says, “Well, here’s how many people you suggested. Here’s how many people actually you found email addresses for, etc.”

So, if we’re not finding enough email addresses, I know that’s our problem. Go out there and find a tool for finding email addresses. We did. We paid for a piece of software that finds email addresses or a service, actually, that for a few bucks a month finds email addresses. Problem solved.

Another problem we found was we just weren’t suggesting enough guests. So, shame on us. So, I said, “From now on, every week I need 10 potential guests minimum in the first column.” So, that problem went away. We found people were doing pre-interviews but they weren’t actually showing up for the interview they prepped for. They spent an hour with a producer. They made all the efforts and then we didn’t have them on the site.

So, I realized okay, we need another step. After someone books an interview or does a pre-interview, I need to follow up and ask them why they didn’t book–actually, wait, they book the pre-interview, they do it, if they don’t show up about a week later, we know the send them another follow up email and said, “You did the pre-interview, the hard part is over. Now schedule your interview. Numbers just instantly improved, instantly from that one follow up step.

Anyway, most people who are listening to me, in fact almost all are not out there doing interviews. So, why am I telling them about Pipedrive? Because the same thing is true for selling. You are forced in Pipedrive to put out all your steps. You allow yourself then to collaborate with other people, like maybe someone else finds leads for you. Maybe someone else sends your first set of emails, etc.

And it calls you out on your bullshit. If you think that you’ve made ten calls a week, you just go into your stats on Pipedrive and see did you really make ten calls or did you really make two calls and give up without noticing? If you did make ten calls, maybe you should make 20. Maybe you should experiment with a different approach. If you made 10 calls but the other person on your team did not make their 10 calls, Pipedrive lets you know that too. So, you get on them and say, “We’re never going to move anyone down this pipeline unless you make your number of calls.

Anyway, it’s really effective. I learned about it from a past interviewee. I’ve been raving about them for years. They probably said, “Andrew’s talking so much. Let’s just pay him.” That’s why they’re sponsoring Mixergy. If they are, I guarantee they’re going to get their money’s worth because I know that anyone that signs up is going to ten keep promoting Pipedrive. It is that good.

Go check them out at When you add the /Mixergy, I get credit for having sent you over and you get a bunch of free time so you can play with it and see what it’s like. If you don’t like it or you’re not ready for it, you can ditch it, no problem, but I’m telling you you’re going to love it if you’re selling to anyone one on one–

Dane, that was–I get carried away with Pipedrive. I should I think limit myself with these Pipedrive things because I know how effective it is. I can’t stop yapping. You might consider following a pattern for these promotions.

Andrew: You know what? I did when I started. I wrote out a little outline and then I said, “Feel it from the heart. Let’s see what happens.” So, I realize with these sponsors, sometimes my heart just goes way too long.

Dane: I was actually noticing the pattern. We’ve done a few interviews now. You usually tell a story. You usually tell a personal story. It’s like there’s quite a cool little flow.

Andrew: I tried to do that. That’s one of the things that I learned from Dale Carnegie. They would take these people who are executives back when I volunteered for them. These guys were so freaking boring. No wonder they weren’t persuasive. They always thought they weren’t persuasive because they didn’t have enough tenure or they weren’t high up on the latter or something or the school they went to.

Really they were just so boring and they didn’t understand it. The Dale Carnegie people are too nice to say you’re boring. That’s why. But what they do with being that nice is they use it to persuade the person to try a new technique. Their technique is so simple and so effective. It’s tell a story, have the point and then give the action that you want people to take.

With the story, especially in like a presentation, some of these execs would go into a room and they’d have to have a presentation and they’d either put it up on PowerPoint slides and then read from them or they would have their notes and then they’d look like they’re just dorky and reading notes instead of speaking and understanding their topic.

With a story, they didn’t have to have notes. They could just tell you, “Here’s what happened to me yesterday when I went down to our second floor. Here’s the problem and here’s the action that I want us to take.” So, I try to use that as much as possible. That’s one of my techniques.

Dane: We use a very similar framework for delivering our content in The Foundation. Tell a story, why it’s important, what the point is, an example, an exercise, etc. So, most of our content follows that pattern too.

I was just looking at my notes when you were talking. I was like I want to write a hit song eventually. So, you tell me–do you think I’m going to be able to write a hit song or not? Research shows the average hit song is about 100 beats per minute. The average hit song has the word “you” in it in the first two lines. The average hit song fulfills the title of the song within the first eight lines.

Andrew: Interesting.

Dane: The patterns of how to write a hit song. I just found an expert who talks about–he like looks through the top 40 in pop and the top 40 in country and he reports on all the patterns he sees. He sees so many musicians out there kind of struggling. They’re like, “I’m writing from the heart.” Well, why don’t you put your heart into a pattern?

It’s really exciting. And I encourage anyone who’s wanting to spend time with me in a business context to consider joining The Foundation for this last class. It is $5,000 or something like that and that goes to me and my partner and a bunch of people in The Foundation that are working on it. That’s what you’d spend. You’d spend six months and then you could learn how to build a successful software, learn the patterns and just get to spend time with me on this day to day basis and riff on that. I hope that soft plug is okay, Andrew.

Andrew: Yeah. Spend time with you how?

Dane: Well, you’re actually going to be involved in this next Foundation too.

Andrew: I want to see this continue. The reason I want to see it continue–here’s the thing that I got out of it. I notice that people who have gone through The Foundation often hadn’t started a real company before, hadn’t had a real customer if they did start a company.

This was the beginning for them and it changed the way that they thought of themselves. It changed the things they were willing to do. Then it gave them this bond with other people in The Foundation and then they started talking about themselves. They wouldn’t just say, “I’m Steve and here’s my company,” or, “I’m Steve and I’ve been listening.” It would be, “I’m Steve. I’m a Foundation graduate.” That point of pride, I paid attention to that.

So, I heard you and Andy were thinking of stopping it and I wanted to get on the phone with Andy–I did. I said, “Andy, you don’t get a lot of opportunities to influence people in this way, to have a legacy where you’ve changed the way people live their lives and the results they get and to have them be so proud of having gone through this, you can’t just give this up.”

I know Andy, your cofounder started a software company. So, that’s what’s he’s obsessed with, the way that you are with music. I think it’s great to have these other interests and I think if that’s the meaning and that’s the purpose and that’s the direction of your life, you’ve got to follow it, but I can’t see you guys stopping something that’s worked so well that’s had such impact. That’s painful to me.

Dane: Thank you for that. I think of that story of like we had a guy get a tattoo, a Foundation tattoo.

Andrew: Really?

Dane: Yeah, just one out of 2,500.

Andrew: Losers.

Dane: His name is Brian. He’s an amazing guy. His heart’s incredible. I don’t think he’s ever started a software company. But he didn’t start it because he didn’t want to. And it’s not like any longer this sort of, “Oh gosh, can I or can’t I?” like life becomes kind of a decision. It’s like–

Andrew: You’re saying apart from that. Whatever it is he ended up doing, he had this sense of, “I can do it,” and process for getting it done.

Dane: Yeah. I think what it is, Andrew, is like if people that spend time with me, their life just changes for the better. I told you yesterday, but I feel like a freight train for a lot of people. People come living their life a certain way. They see how I’m living. That’s what happened to Andy, my partner. He was an employee and he saw how I was living and then I taught him business and then the guy just took off and he became a partner with me in The Foundation. Then after watching me teach software for four years, he started his own software business.

It’s just so exciting to get–yeah. People get filled with something awesome. That’s what you see, “I’m a Foundation grad.” Enough of that. I want to like–however much time we have left, let’s just dump as much as we can on folks listening so they can be more successful.

Andrew: Here’s the thing that I noticed. What you’re talking about with this phone call makes perfect sense. Of course–I shouldn’t say of course–but there’s a high likelihood of success that someone will say yes to one of your offers and that gets you going and then another person, another, another.

Dane: You see how I’m approaching the calls too, right?

Andrew: But Dane, I get how you’re approaching it and I think there’s a lot you’ve picked up over the years that just comes out through those calls like wait a beat instead of jumping in and telling them that Red Bull stinks.

But what I noticed is people can’t get themselves to make those calls. I worked with someone who was working at Mixergy finding guests, doing other stuff. I said, “Let’s get on a call.” He said, “Andrew, you have to understand. I don’t get on calls with people. It’s actually nerve-wracking for me to know in the middle of the week I have a phone call with you. I’m much better with email and text messages.”

So, The Foundation asks people to make not just one phone call with one person they’ve been working with but dozens if not more phone calls with some people, many of whom will reject them. I noticed that was a challenge for some of the past graduates. So, what do you do to get over that?

Dane: Well, we just really improve the process a lot. So, you’re not just like going out into the forest with a target on your back. We teach the process that we’re probably most well-known for is what’s called idea extraction where you go in and find pain. The first year, the first class I gave people one email and told them to get on the phone. I didn’t do any other training. That was brutal for a lot of people.

Now we have students practicing on students until they’re able to consistently do it really well. And then once they’ve built the skill and they’ve embodied the pattern, then they go out into the world and it’s a whole different scenario now for people that are doing it.

Andrew: Because they’ve talked to each other.

Dane: Yeah. They’ve been able to experientially do it. They have practice. I really want to make it easy on people’s hearts and also like if you don’t want to get on the phone, then get out of my presence. How much do you want to give for your dream? If it requires a phone call–I’m at a monastery for a month, for crying out loud. I’m doing anything I can to find the purest voice to express in music. I’m sitting at a cold monastery like nothing will stop me.

Last two weeks ago, the hurricane in Florida or whatever was going on, I flew in the day of that hurricane. I had full opportunity to cancel my flight. I was like, “A hurricane is not fucking stopping me.” I probably just lost 95 percent of the people and that’s okay. It’s a burning commitment that I have that I hardly see anybody measure against.

Andrew: You’re saying you lost them because you told them you have to make phone calls or else I don’t want to talk to you.

Dane: Well, that I landed a day before a hurricane and people are like, “I probably wouldn’t do that.” I mean like I want to change the whole wide world, man. I’m going to do it. I hope I do it. Also, the other thing is I also want to stand for people being unreasonable with who they are. So, if you are really just not a phone person, we will show you a way to do it without a phone.

Andrew: What’s a way to do it without a phone?

Dane: You can do surveys. You can do short emails back and forth. You can position it so people are calling you. You start to get to a point of living reality where it’s not like, “I’ve got to phone calls.” You start asking questions of like, “How can I get people calling me?” or, “How could I do this without getting on the phone?” It’s very possible to do.

We’ve had students do things like this. One lady created like a–again, we try to teach software, but people just end up building other stuff. We had a lady build an information product for interior decorators to pass their interior decorator exams. She did surveys and emails to the interior decorators. You don’t have to be on the phone. What I get more upset about is if you’re not willing to give everything for your dream, I don’t know how helpful I can be.

Andrew: So, I’m going to be helping with this. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing, exactly. What do you guys need me to do at The Foundation, the last one you guys are doing?

Dane: The last one that I’m teaching, Andy’s really enjoying it. He may continue teaching, but I just want to go in music, man. I just want to so bad. You asked how people would get to hang out with me. I think I’m on webinars once a week, once every other week. Maybe twice a week But you’re going to be able to hang out with me on webinar and watch me build companies. I’ll probably try and start a new business every webinar.

You’ll watch me pick five different industries, go into all five of them at once and pivot 20 times in an hour until I’m in a completely different place in the end and you’re like, “Wow, this is how free you could be doing this? Could it really be this way?” Yeah. I don’t understand. Some people commit to an idea for six months and it doesn’t work. If my idea doesn’t work, I drop it the first day. I’m pretty impatient. So, you’re going to watch me build stuff. You’re going to get idea, extraction, critiques.

Andrew, I’m probably going to be pushing you out of your comfort zone and putting you into–I’d like to put you in a really big teaching role of all the patterns you’ve found with successful founders and how they start their companies for the first few months and then as entrepreneurs in The Foundation are progressing, you then talk about the patterns.

Andrew: You’re saying I’ll be on the call with the people who are part of this group.

Dane: Yeah. I think you’re on a call once a week or something or once every other week. So, you’re going to get access to Andrew Warner on the webinar. He’s going to teach. You’re getting access to me. You’re getting access to Andy also. Andy’s just kicking so–he’s at like 40 presales before his software is even launched.

So we want to support folks and help people with stuff. That’s as much as I could know right now. But I would just prefer–my preference would be that you would–this may be weird to say. But my preference, would be if you just trust me and you want to do it and buy it and know that you’ll be in a very amazing position at the end of that six months with a company if you want it or maybe you decide to do something else. But I’d like to give more information on this interview, whatever you want to talk about.

Andrew: You mean go beyond this? Yeah. You know what? You’ve got a note here about playing something or music versus entrepreneurs. What are you talking about?

Dane: Well, I can show you the patterns on the guitar fretboard.

Andrew: Yeah. That’s what you and I did yesterday where you just grabbed it and showed it to me.

Dane: I’ve got my guitar here. I got one of those tiny travel Martins. Where did my guitar pick go. So I don’t know if I have a guitar pick. So, here’s a guitar. You have a fret board. These things always perplexed me. They’re very complicated looking. How do you do it? You’ve got the “Stairway to Heaven” solos and all these cool guitar solos and you’re like, “That just looks impossible to do.” Well, kind of like you’re like, “Business looks impossible to do,” well, it’s not. A guitar fretboard is nothing more than patterns, just like a business.

So, if you play in a major key, if you want to master the fret board, there are seven patterns–by the way, I get taught by a guitar instructor at Berkeley, the School of Music, the best music school in the world. I meet with him usually every week so he can teach me guitar patterns. He happened to create this seven-note system. There are seven patterns. This is the first pattern. Can you see my fingers?

Andrew: Yeah. I can see it.

Dane: The first pattern is–I’m a little sloppy without a pick. This is the second pattern. The third pattern, fourth pattern, pattern five, which is the same shape as pattern one, pattern six and then pattern seven and then–I just did that for fun.

So, once you know these seven patterns, each pattern is related to one of the seven notes in a scale. So, if you’re in the key of C. You have C, D, E, F. That’s the fourth scale degree in C. That would be F, so you’d use pattern four, which is, which is the same pattern you did right here, which is the same pattern you could do right here. And all of a sudden you’ve got–then there’s pattern six, which you could do right here, the same pattern in six here, the same pattern in six here.

So, like this is the same as business. So, if you’re at this position in business and you’ve practiced pattern six over and over and over again, over and over and over again, over and over again to get that ingrained in your brain, then when you get to that position in business, you just do pattern six.

Well, same thing with guitar. You can play the entire fretboard if you understand seven patterns. You can be successful in business if you understand–I don’t know how many patterns there are, but there’s a pattern for every situation. There are probably five key patterns. I don’t know.

But that’s the essence of like when I picked up a guitar, I felt so much fear. I felt like I would never really be able to play like a Jimmy Page, like how do they do those things? They’re so mysterious. I just wish I had someone tell me they’re nothing more than patterns, just like business is nothing more than patterns. All of a sudden what this opens up for you is you no longer need to pick things based on if you believe you can do them because now you don’t have to worry about if you believe you can do them.

Andrew: You’re looking for the patterns in them and you can do that.

Dane: I talked to one of the Berkeley professors and he flies on the fret board, flies on it. And I was like, “Do you think anybody can do that if they practice as much as you?” He’s like, “It’s nothing more than neurological patterns in my brain. I’ve just done it for years.”

Andrew: That’s a good place to end it. If people want to apply to be part of The Foundation, they can go to and if they want to see your music, they can probably just go to Facebook.

Dane: Dane Maxwell on Facebook or I give all the music away for free.

Andrew: Because?

Dane: Because I make enough money with software.

Andrew: I see. Alright. Good to see you here again. Thanks, Dane. Thank you all for being a part of it. The two sponsors are the company that’s going to help you grow your sales by forcing you to create your system and follow that system and manage that system. It’s called Pipedrive. Check them out at And the second is the company that will help you hire your next great developer. They’ve been used by companies like Airbnb, Mixergy and Hewlett Packard, Enterprise, so many others, Zendesk. They’re called Toptal. Check them out at Thanks. Bye, everyone.

  • Pattern pattern pattern
    What’s the pattern?
    Thank God this is your last interview as an “entrepreneur.”

    Love you Andrew, but this guy?

  • Dane Maxwell

    Matt did you not get the patterns after I said uhh.. well? I thought I mentioned at least 5 or 6 patterns after saying uhh… well…

    Your comment reads quite rude, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the interview. I wonder if anyone else felt this wasn’t useful? If so please let me know.

  • I don’t know how many more you uncovered, but I stopped right when Andrew asked for you to identify a pattern, and it was something like: “find a pain point, see if people wan to pay for it, test it, etc” We’re going on 2017, if you’re still selling this kind of advice, we’re all screwed.

    Here’s what I see (from you and countless others) and why it drives me bonkers, enough to leave a comment:

    Selling someone on the hype and dreams of success, through buzzwords and hope. This isn’t hard, it’s easy. Lost, we’ll find you. Poor, you’ll be rich. Just. Listen. To. Me.

    The business is in the selling, not the outcome. There’s a lot of fine print I’m sure people have to sign off on. That’s fine, I’m not buying from you, maybe someone who does *is* finding true value & results. All of these dream entrepreneurs are shockingly reminiscent of the housing collapse.

  • Dane Maxwell

    Oh I see Matt thank you. Yeah that bugs me too. That’s why I own my own SaaS and get dirty in the field too. Gosh I would have loved to get far more specific. In this interview I do about this… I do talk pretty specifically about becoming a systems consultant for example to identify patterns in a company, inefficiencies, and then build software from the systems you document for an organization. I think you’ll find it if you listen.

    Also, for really dirty specifics: If you want we are hosting a free bootstrapped software summit with 25 bad ass software entrepreneurs and the specifics. I think you can find it on TheFoundation main homepage. I appreciate the additional words. I was a bit worried my passion was misunderstood. Thank you.

  • Marius

    I can’t disagree with you more. He has not only walked the walk, which not many business owners can say of themselves who sell the “dream”, but basically his whole system and exactly how he established and grew his current SaaS business is freely available in his webinars.

    Everything you need to know about his process, he used to establish his SaaS business, you can find out for free. Only if you really need someone to guide you through the steps and give you a helping hand, would need to get into the foundation.

    It’s the same approach as Eben Pagan uses for his businesses, where he gives out the best content for free and at the end has a premium product for people who need that extra help.

  • Corey B Benschop

    Hey Dane, been following your stuff since you started the Foundation! Cool interview brother… I am also a firm believer in finding and replicating successful patterns.

  • Josh Crawford

    What is the alternative solution to creating a income stream then? Is it paid or free? Would a paid education cost less in the long run?

    I’m always an initial skeptic, especially when it seems too good to be true.

  • Bob

    Hi Marius, I’ve seen bits and pieces of the program, but nothing all in the same place. Where can I find it all? I just don’t have the funds to join now, but would love to learn. Thank you!

  • Bob

    Hi Dane, I hope your Monday has been going well! I would like to learn how to start a SaaS (for obvious reasons), but don’t have the funds. Will the Free Bootstrapped Software Summit offer a downloadable blueprint and other items that will allow me to self study on how succeed as you did? Thanks Dane.

  • Marius

    Normally, before a new foundation starts, he has a webinar that goes over a few hours, where he explains everything. Should be the same for this years!? I got everything from watching a few webinars, reading articles and interviews of him.

  • It’s unfortunate, but I’ve seen a lot of people fail just because they didn’t want it hard enough, not because that stuff doesn’t work.

  • Bartholemew Mitosis

    Great interview…the pattern recognition concept is gold! I would love to hear the audio of the pool cleaner…will you post it for us? Thank you for the interview! (Good luck with your music, Dane!)

  • Sam Ovens

    All True! I thought copywriting was putting that “c” thing on sentences before I met Dane and he was, like he said, my first teacher and was responsible for a large portion of the results I have generated. Thank you Dane and Andrew! I found Dane on Mixergy which is where this roller coaster began so it’s deja vu to be back here watching you interview Dane again this time speaking about me. To anybody considering The Foundation it’s an awesome program and I cannot recommend it enough. Just pull the trigger and join because there were fence sitters that couldn’t decide back when I did and guess what? They still haven’t made up their minds.

  • Jay Kay

    Given your a lying shyster who reneged on consulting call appointments and left your forum wide open for hackers to sign up & attack users, I would not believe ONE word, that comes out of your mouth!
    Further, if your acting as a reference for Dane, then I can only wander what that says about him??
    Your a Grade A hustler! Simple & straight-forward as that.
    And yes, this is all proven. Its not my opinion. It happened & its a fact!

  • Sam Ovens

    Thanks for your kind words Jay!

  • “find a pain point, see if people wan to pay for it, test it, etc” We’re going on 2017, if you’re still selling this kind of advice, we’re all screwed.”

    Really? That seems a bit like saying that an English teacher who still instructs their students on nouns, verbs and sentence structure is useless.

    I think you’re falling for the curse of expertise. Just because foundational (pun intended!) principles are old hat to you, it doesn’t mean they’re not worth teaching.

    It’s true there is a lot of bad advice given to newbie entrepreneurs out there – most notably “Pursue your passion and the money will follow!”. But if you ask me, anybody whose guidance is “find a pain point, see if people will pay, test and iterate” is fighting the good fight and squashing the hyperbolic empty dreams, not selling them.

  • Jay Kay

    Anytime Sam.
    I tell the truth & given your behaviour, those are kind words.

  • Noel King

    I was afraid being sold to also. I guarantee after taking consistent action from information people like Dane, maybe a year from now, you won’t recognize the person who made these distinctions…”we’re all screwed” “drives me bonkers”.

    I’m a Foundation drop out from two years ago, my monthly income is 4X, and I used to think like you.

  • Bob,
    I am a student of Dane’s and the summit is free – it will be tremendously valueble rest assured.

  • sonibvc

    I agree with you. I am also tired of people like this guy. If you want a pattern, here is a pattern:

    1. Get a good idea. 50% of success depends on how good is your idea. How to get a good idea? YouTube – Opportunity Identification: Discovering the “Next Big Thing” with Professor Thomas Lee – Wharton Business School. What you will see there works!

    2. Once you get the idea, test it by talking to people directly. No emails, no ads no BS. Direct conversation. Face to Face or Social Media Chat. Nothing else will work. Then ask them to prepay a small amount.

    That’s it. The key is not to waste time. Be brutal in your validation process. No more than 3-5 days. If you can not get at least 5-10 prepayments, screw the idea. It is very difficult, time consuming and you will fail more times than you succeed but I promise it will work. There are no 100% foolproof blueprints and anyone claiming otherwise is trying to sell you some BS.

  • Borys

    Blog about web development semi final with 8 competitors, and final where two candidates — Team Lead / Python Developer Vadim Zakovinko and UI/UX Designer Dmitriy Puchkov — had to compete. As a result, Dmitriy won by miles and was announced as the best at a special event. We were happy to present him cool snowboarding equipment as a prize.

  • Dal

    @danemaxwell:disqus What was the book you’ve suggested? Illuminated something?

  • tiffanieross

    One year ago I left my office work and it changed my life… I started doing a job online, over a website I found over internet, few hrs daily, and I earn much more than i did on my office job… My last month check was for 9k… The best thing about this job is that i have more time for my kids…

  • fox-susan

    1 year ago I finally quit my old job and I never felt this good… I started doing work online, over a website I discovered online, few hrs /a day, and I profit now much more than i did on my last work… My last month pay-check was for Nine thousand bucks… Superb thing about this job is that i have more time to spend with my family…

  • Shadow

    This guy is so self promotional. He said almost nothing of substance. It was mostly all fluff. “Just sell businesses profit.” Andrew replies “Can you give an example of a business that sells profit?” Dane replies “Any business.” ????

    Some of his comments are so over the top. “I am so potent in business” Come on, give me a break. This interview shouldn’t have aired.

    Dane thinks he’s so successful. He considers his chump business worth “multiple 7 figures” to be a big deal. News flash, Dane — that’s not so impressive for this audience. My Internet business right now is presently larger than Dane’s yet I listen to Mixergy because I am trying to improve still. I stay small and humble because I know the other Mixergy speakers are orders of magnitude larger.

    Dane is a joke who is “choosing not to be an entrepreneur anymore” because he allegedly is too successful. Uhhh, yeah, ok. Actual successful entrepreneurs don’t quit the business, they love it too much. Dane is a phony.

  • AJ Sorenson

    Ugh. I can’t stand this dude.

  • Lyveno

    I couldn’t disagree more–just because he decided to focus on his music rather than the business doesn’t mean that he is a phony. It’s about doing what fulfills your soul. Now that he’s got the money part taken care of, he can do what he truly loves–but only another musician/artist could understand that.

  • Lyveno

    I couldn’t disagree more…. what is the good in having what you think is a good idea, if no one else thinks it’s a good idea? Coming up with an idea first and then testing it to see if others like it seems like putting the cart before the horse to me. I went to an entrepreneur workshop by my local Small Business Administration office, and they said the same thing is to find the need, or what Dane calls “pain point.” Whether you spend the time doing your research first to find what people want, or come up with an idea and then spending the time to see if people like the idea, you’re still spending time. I would think I’d rather spend the time to find the pain point first before I spend all this time and energy coming up with something that no one wants.

    A business idea that I had came from my experience planning company events at my office–after talking to a couple of Executive Administrators about what I was going through, I found out they had experienced the very same thing as I did. My thought was if they were experiencing the same issues that I was ( trying to plan events while still taking care of their everyday duties) maybe this is something that other companies go through. And THAT–my friends is how you find a pain point!

  • helenpwyatt

    It’s been one yr since I resigned from my office job and i couldn’t be happier now… I started to work over internet, for a company I discovered online, few hrs /a day, and I profit now much more than i did on my last work… My payment for last month was for 9 thousand bucks… Great thing about this gig is that i have more free time for my family…

  • eunice.daniel

    One year ago,after resigning my desk job , i’ve been fortunate to find this company over internet which saved me… They hire people to freelance from home. Last payment after doing this job for them for four months was $10000… Great thing about it was that the only requirement for the job is basic typing and connection to the internet…

  • rachel.miller

    I’ve made $84 ,000 at present this year working via internet but I’m a full time university student . I’m using an internet business project I discovered and I’ve earned such decent money . It is actually seriously simple to use not to mention I’m just very happy that I discovered out regarding it . The possibility using this is endless . Here’s exactly what I do>>>

  • janis

    Well Jeremy you worked hard and are the founder QuickMail so kudo’s for you und das ist toll, dass du das getan hast… but i don’t agree what you are saying..
    ( i know Dane before he started the foundation true passive panda)

    Boarding process for the foundation it still sucks the big one.. Why ? people that have no selling skill and have a normal job (working hours 8 – 6 .. 5 days a week) should be banned they can not put the hours in it…and still they get access (because of the money of course) ..

  • janis

    about 4 years ago i send you email Dane with this idea we build the product for free and we asked for partnership. at that time you love the idea.. but you never help use to connect to you students even that i send you about 65 emails after that email.. that’s a real shame……

  • Scott Southwick

    You either agree with Dane Maxwell’s models and methods or you haven’t consumed enough of his free content, definitely not a student.

  • kerri.meadows

    I’ve made $84 ,000 at this time this year working on line and also I am only a full time university student . I’m implementing a web business money making opportunity I observed and after that I’ve made such great money . It is seriously convenient to use and I am just very thankful that I found out about it . The capability with this is long-term . Here’s what I do>>>

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