How an Excel spreadsheet became a startup that landed PayPal (as its FIRST client)

Today’s guest built an incredible company that you’ve probably never seen.

Thoran Rodrigues is the founder and CEO of BigData Corp which helps companies to automate the way they work with huge volumes of information.

It’s not sexy. It’s not the kind of business that people share with their friends on their mobile phones. But it’s the kind of company that gets to grow, gets to build solid revenues and gets to be a real business.

Today, we’re going to find out how he did it.

Thoran Rodrigues

Thoran Rodrigues

BigData Corp

Thoran Rodrigues is the founder and CEO of BigData Corp which helps companies to automate the way they work with huge volumes of information.


Full Interview Transcript

Thoran: Hi.

Andrew: Yeah. We can both do it. Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of and it is, of course, home of the ambitious upstart. Speaking of upstart, I’ve got a guest today who a few minutes before our interview started didn’t have electricity and still, he built this incredible company.

The incredible company you’re about to find out about does business to business sales, basically he built software that you probably don’t see. It’s not sexy. It’s not the kind of stuff that people share with their friends on their mobile phones. But it’s the kind of company that gets to grow, that gets to build solid revenues and gets to be a real business. Today, we’re going to find out how he did it. His name is Thoran Rodrigues. How did I do with the name?

Thoran: You did pretty well. Better than most.

Andrew: How would you say it?

Thoran: Well, so, when I’m speaking here in Brazil, I usually say Thoran. Though, I have had people call me everything from Thoran and to Thor to whatever they feel like. So, it’s an unusual name. So, I’m kind of used to people misspelling it, mispronouncing it.

Andrew: When you speak with American clients, how do you say it?

Thoran: I usually say Throan. So, that’s usually simpler for Americans to pronounce.

Andrew: And Rodrigues is much more familiar to Americans, but how do you pronounce it?

Thoran: Rodrigues. It kind of gets, I don’t know, a stronger O, I guess.

Andrew: Rodrigues.

Thoran: Yes.

Andrew: You’re the founder of a company whose name I can pronounce. It’s called BigData Corp and it helps companies automate the way they capture and structure huge volumes of information. I’m sure as soon as I said that, a lot of people said, “What is this?”

So, let me give you guys an example of what it is. Let’s suppose that I, Andrew Warner, decided I wanted to create new software for hosting courses online and I wanted to go after people who are easier to get. Let’s suppose it was new people who don’t have much of an infrastructure for publishing their courses online.

So, I go to BigData Corp and I’d say, “Can you please find me people who are running WordPress, are running Wishlist plugin, are also on HostGator and are using PayPal because if they’re using PayPal, it means they haven’t figured how to implement different payment, more sophisticated payment systems in their sites.”

BigData Corp will give me a list of all those people and their contact information and then I could or my sales people could start calling them up and say, “Hey, I see you have a course you’re selling online or you have a membership site. If you install our software, you can grow your sales and look a lot more professional. Can we do a demo for you?” How is that?

Thoran: That’s exactly right. That’s one of the main use cases for what we do and probably one of the most interesting ones, I guess. From all the conversations we have in the market, that’s probably the one that has the most traction and that’s a very–that’s a use case that people are very familiar with, kind of figuring out better sales, even though there are like tens of others that are quite interesting as well.

Andrew: Tens of other use cases that aren’t as easy to explain. But the whole idea is you guys go out to the internet on a regular basis, you pull in data and then you organize it in a way that your clients can make use of it and we’re going to talk about how you’re doing it, right?

Thoran: Exactly. The idea is like being a data provider. So, kind of a few of the big companies that work in that space would be someone like Axiom or Experian. People who are familiar with B2B kind of know these names. But instead of working with structured data, which is what we they often do, we kind of take a shotgun approach to data collection where we just bring in everything that we can and sort through it later.

That means we can deliver data that’s completely different from what companies are used to working with and can actually provide a whole new dimension to several processes that goes from sales, just like you described, but also risk analysis, fraud prevention and a lot of other areas that we end up working with.

Andrew: Okay. I should say before we start, this interview is sponsored by HostGator. Later on I’ll tell people why if they need a web hosting company, they should go to and it’s sponsored by Toptal. People are starting to recognize the name Toptal and they’re thanking me for introducing them to it. I will tell you more about why if you need a developer, you should go to I’ll tell you about both of those later.

Thoran, we were introduced by Alex Dantas who told me about your company. I had never heard of it before him. He gave me a sense of what he thought the revenues were, but he also said, “Look, I don’t for use and I’m not sure I should be saying it.” So, let me ask you. You can say it and you do know it for sure. What are the revenues that you guys are doing?

Thoran: Our revenues in dollars are a bit confusing because of the slump in which the Brazilian real has been in. So, if you’d asked me in the beginning of the year, I would have a much better picture to paint because our currency was much stronger against the dollar. But if we take current values, our revenues last year were about $1.2 million US for the year and this year we’re projected to about anywhere between $2 million and $2.5 million.

Andrew: $2 million and $2.5 million. And we’re almost at the end of the year, so it’s not like you’re expecting a big Christmas rush. So, we can be pretty confident that you’re going to do over $2 million.

Thoran: Yeah. We have a couple of large deals that we’re hoping will fall into place. If they do, the number can be pushed up a little higher than that. We’ll be over $2 million for sure.

Andrew: When you say that the dollar and the real impacts what your revenues are, does that mean that you’re selling–sorry?

Thoran: In dollar terms, it affects, right?

Andrew: Are you selling mostly to people in Brazil?

Thoran: So, today are customer base is about 60 percent Brazil, 40 percent outside. Some of the companies are in Europe. Some of the companies are in the rest of Latin America and some of them are in the US. For US companies and most of our European clients, we’ll sell in US dollars, but for the other companies in Latin America, we usually use the Brazilian real as the base currency.

Andrew: What’s the Brazilian–why do they call it the real? What is it?

Thoran: So, the currency is the real.

Andrew: Real. Okay.

Thoran: Today, $1 is about 4 reals.

Andrew: Okay. Oh, it is. It’s spelled R-E-A-L. But it’s real. Okay. I wasn’t making that up. How did I get that wrong? All right. Let’s see how you got here. You’re a guy who, you told our producer, wasn’t happy with the work that you were doing. Before you came up with this idea, you were working a job that you weren’t happy in. So, I went to LinkedIn to see where is the company that made you so unhappy and you know what I saw? Nothing. You don’t even list the company name. What made you so unhappy about them that you’re not even saying where it was?

Thoran: So, I used to work at–I worked for a couple of consulting companies. I actually found out–this was maybe a month ago that today, the kind of consultancy company where I worked out is called a boutique shop. In my time, it was just a small company. Now they have to call it a gourmet name, so they call it a boutique company or something.

Andrew: Okay.

Thoran: The main reason why I haven’t listed it on LinkedIn or anywhere else is confidentiality. I had some confidentiality agreements with clients.

Andrew: Okay. Give me an example of what frustrated you about the job because that’s what set you off on this whole path.

Thoran: Yeah. So, two different things really frustrated me about the job and got me wanting to move out. The first one was that consulting is great. I really respect people who do consulting. I think it’s interesting. But especially with the small shops, you’re essentially solving the same problem over and over again. After you’ve kind of found a niche for yourself, you’re just solving the same problems for new clients. That’s really boring, at least for me it was really boring. There wasn’t really any new technical challenge or changes or anything that we had to face.

Andrew: Okay.

Thoran: We were stuck in like 1990s technologies, like client server model, doing installations, on premise installation of software, desktop software, a whole bunch of headaches. At the same time, I was seeing that the landscape was changing. Cloud computing was just coming along. It was picking up steam.

Big data was something that people were starting to talk about. I got really frustrated that I had to solve the same problems and I couldn’t employ any of the new technology I was reading about. When I got into technology, my whole idea was to work in new technology, work at the cutting edge of things. As time kind of passed along and I couldn’t work on that anymore, that got me upset.

The second thing that set me off was the last company that I worked at, they called me in to create an internal development team. We would kind of develop technology and do all the internal development that we needed to do. And after one or two years, I had built a team of about 30 people and the team would essential manage itself.

My presence wasn’t necessary anymore. So, I could essentially stay home a couple of days and nothing bad would happen. That’s a good thing, but from my perspective it was bad because I was board again. I didn’t have anything to do there. Those two things kind of set me off into the idea of, “Hey, I need to get out of this and I need to do something different.”

Andrew: And you also got to meet Bob Metcalfe. He is the co-inventor of Ethernet, founded 3Com. He’s a partner at Polaris Venture Partners. The guy is huge. What did he say to you that helped set you in a new direction?

Thoran: So, the meeting was completely insane. When I look back, I always think it was completely insane. I was at a conference in the US called EG, I think it was. This was back in maybe 2010 or something like that. I was just sitting at a table between two sessions drinking coffee and he just came up and sat down beside me and started chatting.

I had no idea who he was. He only introduced himself about halfway through the conversation. I think if he had introduced himself earlier, I would have been very intimidated and probably wouldn’t have been able to talk with him as openly as I would. But talking with him and kind of discussing my frustrations about not being able to do new things and not being able to work, I was finishing my Master’s degree at the same time.

One of the things that I told him was like, “I’m doing all of this cool stuff with my Master’s but there’s no application of what I’m doing in the business. I have no chance to apply it.” Basically what he said was, “Stick with it. Follow what you think is right and things will happen.” Basically what he said was, “I had no idea where this whole Ethernet thing was going back when I invented it. I just knew it was something cool to do and I was doing it. Things happened from there.”

So, I kind of took is advice to heart and said, “Okay, maybe what I should do is quit my job and start looking for an opportunity to apply all of the cool things that I’m reading about and that I’m doing in other places and trying to create the opportunities for all of these things that I’m doing to become something more. So, that’s a meeting that is particularly dear to my heart and very nice.

Andrew: You know, one of the interesting things about that meeting and I was debating whether I should say it or not, but frankly, if you don’t know who he is, he looks like a man who’s got confidence, but he also looks like an older man at a conference. I feel like we’re very judgmental at these tech events.

You see this guy who sits next to you and you might think to yourself, “I want to meet the people who are doing things. I don’t know what this guy is doing, but maybe he’s just a hanger on who happened to find the event.” That’s one of the reasons why you just have to be nice and be aware of everybody that you see at a conference and everywhere, but especially at a tech event.

Thoran: Exactly. I completely agree. I think there are actually two sides to that. One is obviously not underestimating anyone because you might be sitting next to Bob Metcalfe and you wouldn’t even know. At the same time, I think a lot of times we’re intimidated when we go talk up to the people who are more famous and the people that we recognize immediately. A lot of the times we’re afraid to go out and talk to them. As I said, if I had known who he was beforehand, I probably would have been intimidated.

Andrew: I get it.

Thoran: Today, I have a sense of if you feel like talking to the person, if you think it’s going to be an interesting conversation, just go out there and talk. Don’t worry about the person judging you. Don’t worry about the person not talking to you. Just go out there and talk. A lot of the times we’ll be intimidated and that would be just as surefire way of preventing that conversation from happening as if you are underestimating them before they sit down with you.

Andrew: So, he got this new direction in your mind, which is to say go towards technology that you’re really interested in, don’t sweat too much where it’s going to go. It will take you somewhere good, just like when he was messing around with the early internet. Those ideas ended up leading someplace and he never could have predicted it. You then get in a car with a buddy of yours. You guys are going from Rio to São Paulo. And your friend starts complaining or talking about what?

Thoran: So, basically he was complaining about a service that he was creating. Let me adjust myself. So, he was complaining about this thing that he was building and kind of saying, “Hey, I’m building this cool thing, but I have no way of seeing where it’s going, what kind of adoption it’s getting.”

Andrew: You mean, he built the software and he still couldn’t tell who was using it even?

Thoran: Yeah.

Andrew: Really? Because what, it was open source software and anyone could just go grab it and implement it on their site?

Thoran: Yeah. Basically it was open source software that anyone could grab and put in their own code and start using it. And you know, that kind of got me thinking. As you were saying, he was not an illiterate in technology. He was pretty tech-savvy. He was developing open source code for people to use, but he still had no idea where that was going, how it was being used.

We talk a lot about–especially with big data, there’s a lot of talk about metrics and information and measuring everything. And surprisingly few people actually have the metrics and the information. This is something we came to learn a little bit later on. But he was telling me about those things and how he couldn’t figure out where things were going and if he was actually getting traction or wasn’t.

That kind of got me thinking to, “Hey, I have some skills with information retrieval. Maybe I can help you out with that. Let’s try and figure something out.” I started discussing this idea with him where maybe I can reach out to people who are registering with you or who are sending some feedback to you and trying to figure out if they’re actually using the service or if they aren’t.

Stepping back from the problem a little bit and looking at what he was saying, it kind of hit me that maybe I don’t have to constrain myself only to the websites that he’s actually looking into or that are actually downloading his data. I can look at everyone and I can show him not only how far along he is in adoption, but how far he still has to go because it’s pretty easy to say, “Hey, you’ve got 100,000 users.” Okay, but 100,000 out of how big a market? If you have 100,000 off 110,000 potential users, then there’s nowhere for you to grow.

Andrew: What you’re saying is he wanted the small piece of information. You said, “How about if I get you this whole ocean of information.” You wanted to expand the scope. And you felt confident that you could create a crawler that would crawl that many websites and know what it was getting when it pulled back?

Thoran: Well, felt confident is a very strong affirmation. I was more like, “Hey, I’ve got nothing to lose by trying it. I might as well try it.” Interestingly enough, the first run that I did was in a gaming PC that I had in my house and I essentially set that to run and kind of pissed off my ISP because I was way over bandwidth.

Andrew: So, you got your gaming PC to crawl the Internet, pull in all these websites and then organize it too or was that left to another computer?

Thoran: So, no, I organized it too. I was using some really, really crazy database infrastructure that, at the end of the day, wasn’t really–the first run that I did was about 200,000 websites. I mean, looking back at it today where we stand, that seems like really small, but for the time when we started off, that was huge. That was more than a lot of people were doing, especially doing it from a computer in my own home that I had to keep on all the time and had to keep babysitting it and making sure that nothing was going wrong.

And so, that was kind of the first run that I did. Basically, I structured the information for him. He found it very interesting. But the first thing that he said, “That’s really cool, but 200,000 is such a small number compared to the entirety of Brazil. There are like 3 million registered domain names in Brazil.” So, okay, challenge accepted. Let’s go after the entirety of Brazil.

Andrew: So, you started crawling every site in Brazil?

Thoran: Yeah. So, the idea was that get to every site in about six months or so. And another very interesting thing happened that kind of really drove home to me the point of automation, which was for the first month or so, we started off with 200,000 websites, which was a list that we found somewhere. In order to add new websites to the list, essentially I drive around town, and every store that I saw or truck that had a website on it, I’d write it down. I’d take my mobile out.

Andrew: That seems really primitive. Why do it that way instead of find some search that will do it all for you out of Google?

Thoran: Basically, we were taking both approaches. So, the idea was–and that’s kind of where I was getting–but the idea was I was doing that on my own just to see how much I could get and we fleshed out an automated process that would be able to extract the links from the content that we had already processed, pretty much like Google does it, where every new link that they find is added on to the list.

But what was interesting to me and kind of drove home the point was that after a month, I had collected about 2,000 or 3,000 websites that weren’t on our database manually. If you are doing it manually, that’s like a ton of websites that I was adding every day.

Andrew: All on your phone.

Thoran: All on the phone. And then I added it to the database and then I ran the automated process to process all the content that we had downloaded and extract the links. The total–

Andrew: That’s exhausting so far, what you’re saying. That’s exhausting. All right. So, you had the whole thing. Was he happy with it? Did he actually get to do anything with his business with it?

Thoran: Yes. He managed to figure out new niches that he wanted to target with this solution and to find some really interesting partners that could integrate, kind of sell–

Andrew: What’s a niche that he was able to find because of this?

Thoran: So, a couple of particular ecommerce websites were really interested in the kind of solution that he was developing. He was able to actually find a couple of ecommerce frameworks that were focused on that particular ecommerce niche that he was interested in. So, he was able to use them to leverage adoption.

Andrew: I see. There were frameworks that his customers were using and he could go partner with them and get their customers.

Thoran: Exactly. He could use them as leverage to increase his usage.

Andrew: Did he pay you for it?

Thoran: No. He did not.

Andrew: Can we call him up right now and ask him to pay?

Thoran: Well, he claimed that he was the first client. So, it’s kind of like, “I’m your use case. I don’t have to pay for it. I kind of gave you the rough outline of the idea you’d use.” It’s fine. I used him as a case for a long time. I’m fine with that. I’m happy with it. He’s happy with it.

Andrew: All right. Let me take a moment here and talk about my sponsors, one of my first two sponsors. It’s a company called Toptal. Look, I don’t know exactly what happened here. First of all, Toptal is really happy with Mixergy as a sponsor. I was worried about it because I really like talking about them. I think that they give me a better reputation when I talk about them. So, I emailed Sachit, the guy who got them as a sponsor and I said, “Can you please check in with them and see are they happy? I don’t want to just keep talking like this. I could adjust if they’re not happy.”

So, Sachit didn’t respond to me and then he and I got into a text conversation a day later and I thought maybe he didn’t respond because they were pissed and they weren’t happy with the results or whatever. A day later he said, “Oh, I got them on the phone.” And they were really happy with it. They actually ended up getting real customers because of Mixergy, which is fantastic for me.

And then the next set of texts I got was from a guy named Shane, a friend of mine, who said that he now saw on TechCrunch–let me find it… Toptal was talked about. He goes, “I found out about Toptal just because of you, Andrew.” And Shane Mack finds out about everything before everyone else. So, I liked that he got to find out about Toptal because of me. So, Toptal is doing well. And they’re doing well with the Mixergy audience, which I’m really proud of.

Thoran: Cool. I had never heard of them. But I’ll definitely look into it.

Andrew: Write them down right now, I’m telling you, you’ll be grateful to me when you get to use them or one of your friends does.

Thoran: I’ll definitely do that.

Andrew: Here’s what they do. They have this network of incredible developers that they’ve tested, that they’ve vetted, that they’ve proven are really good–top three percent as determined by their peers. Then what they do is when you call them up or when you just go to their website and say you need a developer, they’ll talk to you. A real person will check in with you and see what kind of developer do you need? What languages are you using? How many hours? Do you need 40 hours? Do you need part-time? Do you need just a few extra hours? Do you have a team? Do you have nobody? What is it?

Then they go out to their network and they find the perfect person for you. If you don’t agree they’re the perfect person, you can just let them know and they’ll find you another person. But they get it right really fast and the developer gets to start with you really fast, not months of agonizing back and forth with a headhunter or buying ads, not weeks of going back and forth looking at all of the different applications that you got. I’m talking about days and you get started with your developer.

The reason they were in TechCrunch is–there are two things that I got out of this TechCrunch article. The first is they’re finally announcing they have designers on Toptal. So, if you go to, you can also ask for a designer.

And the last thing–this thing caught my eye–apparently their business is doing so well, which I’ve known for a while, but I didn’t know that it was doing so well that one of their angel investors apparently just went off and did a similar business that he’s launching trying to compete with them.

I guess he just saw how well they were doing and he said, “This is just burning me up. I’d rather lose a friend than lose this great idea.” But Toptal has got such a leg up already because they’ve been in the space for so long, because they’ve got Andreessen Horowitz as investors, because they’ve got Quora’s founder as an investor.

We’re talking about a really good group of people here and, according to this TechCrunch article, an $80 million annual run rate. These guys are doing phenomenally. I don’t know why they even bothered buying an ad on Mixergy. Apparently they’re doing so well they don’t even need me. But I need them and my audience needs them.

If you go to, you will get to sign up and get 80 hours of free developer time when you pay for 80 in addition to a no-risk trial period. This is the part where I said you better write them down because you guys are going to be grateful to me for them when you need them. So, go to

You know, Thoran, before we started, I asked you, “Do you want to be included in the ad?” I got so excited about them that I didn’t get a chance to ask you any questions about them or include you. I was just talking about them. I spit up twice as I talked about them.

Thoran: I was very happy hearing about them. As I mentioned, I hadn’t heard about them, but I’ll definitely look at them because it’s always a challenge finding good developers, good designers, good talent as a whole. As you mentioned, being able to talk to someone without going through all the back and forth with intermediaries along the way, it sounds awesome. I’ll definitely check them out. And from what you’re saying, it seems like the angel investor has not only lost a friend, but he’ll lose a lot of money as well. I don’t see how he’ll be able to compete with that.

Andrew: I wonder what he’s going to do?

Thoran: Yeah.

Andrew: I can tell from this article–they interviewed one of the founders of Toptal. I could tell he’s a little upset. These guys, actually, from what I’ve seen, they’re competitive.

Thoran: Well, I can understand his position.

Andrew: All right. Let’s move on with your story. So, now you’ve got your idea, the big idea that Bob Metcalfe’s conversation helped you start to be aware of. You then go and you say it’s time to find some customers. So, you get an Excel spreadsheet and you do what with this Excel spreadsheet?

Thoran: Yeah. So, basically, I downloaded all the data. I ran it through my friend. He said, “You know, this is awesome. This really helped me out. I kind of built a baseline use case with him of what we were going to do.” So, I get all of the data under my arm and I start calling all my own contacts back from the consulting days.

One of the guys that I used to know was working at PayPal. So, I called him up. I said, “Hey, I have something really cool that I need to show you. It’s really awesome. I think it will really help you out. I think it makes a lot of sense.” So, he sets up a meeting for me and says, “Okay, I’ll talk to you.”

And he sets up a meeting for me and I go to the PayPal office in Sao Paulo. That’s one of the reasons why I drive a lot from Rio to Sao Paulo because a lot of the clients are in Sao Paulo while our office is in Rio. I go to their office and we start the meeting and I start talking about it and I say, “Hey, let me show you what I’m talking about.” And then I open up the Excel spreadsheet.

I look at the faces of the people in the meeting and I could see that I had lost them. They couldn’t understand what I was talking about because it was all in a huge Excel spreadsheet that took hours to filter, to do anything with and the data was all messy. You couldn’t really look at it and you couldn’t really get a sense of what was going on there. So, the meeting ended kind of in a down mode. They’re like, “Yeah, it seems nice, but you know, come back some other time when you have something nicer to show us.”

Andrew: That’s disappointing, right? Everyone says create a minimum viable product.

Thoran: I was really upset with myself because I could see the value of what we were doing and I could see what the value was for them. But I just couldn’t communicate it, especially the Excel spreadsheet that I had built and that I had so much faith on couldn’t real cut it, couldn’t really communicate the value of what we were doing. So, I went back to the office and I was like upset with it.

A couple of days later I get a call back from the guy. He’s like, “Our CEO has called a meeting and he really wanted some data on the Brazil market. He wanted us to present some data on the Brazil market. Even though I couldn’t see it from the Excel spreadsheet, from what you talked about, it seemed like you might have that. So, would you come over and do a presentation for us?” I was like, “Yeah, sure, second chance. Yes.” Those don’t come around very often.
So, let’s grab it.”

So, I did that. But what I did was try to sit back and reflect, “Okay, so the Excel spreadsheet isn’t communicating. So, what can we do?” We basically spent a week just without any sleep creating a visualization of the data. This was a web-based visualization of the data that could really communicate the value of what we were doing with which we could kind of segment and present everything as sort of a chart format and make things a little bit more pretty.

I went back to the meeting the following week. I had been up for almost 180 hours or something like that. I didn’t drive. I flew there because I wouldn’t be able to drive in that state. I went to the meeting and it was a huge hit.

When I opened it, they started asking about the market and said, “Hey, instead of me telling you, let me show you.” And I opened up the visualization that we had built and started showing them the charts and doing some drill down point and click and things like that. I could see that they had just, “I get it now. I see the value of what you’re delivering. I see what you’re giving us.”

Actually, the guy who was the CEO of PayPal at the time gave us quite a compliment and said, “You are the first company that’s actually been able to come in here and tell me exactly how big our market is in Brazil and exactly how much of that market I have right now.”

Andrew: So, PayPal didn’t know how big their market was in Brazil?

Thoran: It turns out that no one did. We talked to a lot of companies–their competitors, their partners, ecommerce platforms, other payment service providers, hosting providers–and no one had a clue how many ecommerce–everybody kind of knew the amount of money that was transacted through ecommerce because the credit card companies would release those numbers, but no one actually knew how many websites were there, how many different sales people were there, what kind of products were being sold. There was very, very little insight into those numbers.

Andrew: I see. Fair to say too that they didn’t know how many sites were using PayPal versus using competitors of PayPal in the Brazil market?

Thoran: So, it’s not that they didn’t know who was using, but think about it this way. It’s pretty much like the problem my friend had with his open source software. They know everybody who has signed up, but they had no idea if the person who signed up has actually made the payment option available on the website. I can sign up for a PayPal account today and I can even give them my website, but I might not integrate or I might leave the option hidden or something like that. So, even though I have an active account, I might not be transacting.

Andrew: That’s a good point. We have an active account at Mixergy. It is hidden. Unless they look at the site, they won’t know that we don’t make that available. And that’s what you were able to tell them.

Thoran: Exactly. We were able to tell them, “These guys aren’t available.”

Andrew: Did they pay? Did PayPal pay you?

Thoran: Yes.

Andrew: They did? So, they became a customer?

Thoran: Yes. They became one of our first paying customers for that solution.

Andrew: I want to understand how you get customers when you’re doing B2B. That’s a big question that I get from my audience from people who have business to business companies. What you did was you went back to the consulting company that you worked for and you said, “I have a contact there. I’m going to call him up and ask him if I can pitch this to them.”

Thoran: Yeah. So, I think that what I saw from my personal experience is that with B2B, you kind of go through three phases. The first one is calling up your old contacts. If you have a network of contacts–and if you don’t, you should probably find someone who has a strong network of contacts–and then you’ll be calling them up and trying to sell your solution. The idea is that these contacts, they are buying your service or your product or whatever you’re selling for the value that you’re providing, but also because they trust you from what they know from the past work that you’ve done with them.

That was a really strong selling point for us, that we had really good relationships with some people in the market. They really trusted us because of the work that I had done before. So, that kind of helps you get off the ground. The second step is transitioning from your network of contacts. It can only take you so far. Transitioning from that into sort of having customers find you and buy your solution for the value that you’re providing.

Andrew: I’m going to break down how you did both of those. Let me stay here for a bit with your past contacts. Is it okay for you to just call up past contacts and pitch them on your new business or did you have to get an okay from your boss?

Thoran: So, it was okay because I am working in a completely different area than what I was doing before. It was a completely different service. It has a completely different focus. I chose to only talk to people who were at different companies than the consulting companies that I had worked for before were servicing.

So, I didn’t go after any of their existing clients. I just talked to people I used to know who had changed jobs, were in different companies. So, that’s why I didn’t have to worry so much about calling them and saying, “Is it okay if I talk to the guy?” Because it was completely different company.

Andrew: What was the sales pitch that you had when you got them on the phone?

Thoran: Well, since they knew me, it was basically, “Hey, I’m doing something that’s really, really cool and I think will help you out in your new job in this new challenge that you have. Let’s have some coffee and I’ll give you a 15-second pitch.”

Andrew: I see.

Thoran: That’s kind of what I tried to do. Here, what I found in Brazil and Latin America as a whole, actually, is that people are really into the in-person meetings. So, it’s better than trying to pitch anything over the phone. Setup something. Have a coffee with the other person and then do your pitch over coffee or over something like that. Both for contacts and later on, one thing I found particularly important was to try to frame myself in terms the other guy would understand. If I simply say I’m doing big data collection, a lot of terms they didn’t know, they really wouldn’t understand what I was trying to do.

A lot of times I was trying to find companies they were already working with or kind of used to working with. They kind of understood what those companies were and kind of comparing myself to them. That really provides a reference point from which you can, “Okay, so, I’m like this guy, but in this respect I’m different. So, that kind of makes it easier for them to understand what you’re doing,” especially if you’re trying to do something that’s really different.

Andrew: How did you know what to charge them?

Thoran: So, I would say that I don’t. I’m constantly criticized by undercharging all of the clients, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But what we tried to do was kind of look at what kind of activities we were making easier and the rational was hey, If I’m making it easier for you to do this kind of activity, then I could charge you something that’s close to what you would be spending with that, a little bit less than what you would be spending with that.

One way that we priced, for instance, the initial pricing point of our solution, the idea was how can we help small businesses? We figured out that a small business would put an intern to do the work that we do automatically. So, hey, let’s price it at the same amount that the person would be paying an intern every month. That’s kind of the price we went with.

It turns out that it makes a lot of sense. It becomes something that’s really easy to explain because I can go to them and say, “Instead of hiring an intern to do this job, just hire us and we’ll do it for you.” It’s a very simple tradeoff for them. So, that’s kind of the starting point that we did and we kind of build, “Okay, this is the base pricing. How can we increase the value based on more features that we’re adding and so on?” It’s a little bit of guesswork.

Andrew: You said that one of your challenges was or still is saying no. In the early days, what did you have to say no to?

Thoran: Well, projects mostly. We still get, I don’t know, two or three emails a day for people asking us to do custom built projects. And it’s really easy, especially when you’re starting off–we’re entirely bootstrapped. I put up the money to hold the company, to start the company myself.

Andrew: You’ve raised money since then, right?

Thoran: No.

Andrew: Oh, so it’s still all bootstrapped?

Thoran: Yes.

Andrew: Wow. So, I can see the temptation. You’re putting up your own money. It’s not making enough money yet. What’s one project that kept coming up?

Thoran: It’s not making anything and after six months, you’re like, “Hey, let’s take this project and bring some money in and maybe we can apply this doing to doing something else, but it’s a really dangerous temptation because what usually happens, especially with projects is they’ll take up all your manpower and you’ll focus on them and then once the money from them runs out, you’re just going to try and take another one, especially if you hired people, then you’re going to try to take up another project to get people working on that project.

It’s a constant challenge. It still is today. We’ll get two or three emails a day. Every once in a while we’ll get a really interesting one. Being interesting is another challenge because a lot of the times, especially since we’re riding this whole big data wave, which there is still a lot of hype going on about it.

Some very interesting projects will fall into our lap and we say, “I want to do this really cool thing.” We’ll look at that and say, “That’s really cool.” And the builder in me wants to go after that and work with that and create that, but we can’t, you have to focus, you have to learn how to say no and it turns out that–and this is something of a conflict, especially for me since I had a consulting background where you’re essentially saying yes for everything.

People actually respect you more if you’re able to say to the right things and tell them, “No, I won’t do this because it isn’t my focus. I can give you a reference of someone who would do that. I can show you how to do that. I can share the knowledge of how you would do that with you at no charge. But I’m not dedicate my resources to doing that because its’ completely outside of the scope of what the company is doing.” You get to be more respected for that.

Andrew: Let me do a quick sponsorship message and then talk about the next batch of customers that came to you. My second sponsor is–let me pull this over. I think I need a sidekick for my interviews. Maybe that’s why I’m grabbing this. This is the HostGator mascot.

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Thoran: Wow. That’s a good question. I think I would probably start something related to content production.

Andrew: Content production. Okay.

Thoran: I think content marketing in particular is a very strong area. I think if I only had the basic hosting package and whatever is in my head and no money to start with, producing content and selling it out to other people so that they can edit or link to it and generating traffic to their website seems like a very interesting model, at least to get some scale going.

Andrew: So, you’d be creating content on your sites or other sites and then linking back to your site?

Thoran: I would be building it on my site and others could link to it and use it and start making deals where others could use it as part of their own material. This is something that we actually do with a lot of bloggers and other content producers where we’ll send our content to be hosted on their site and they’ll send their content to ours and that kind of generates traffic for everyone. So, I think it’s a really interesting model. It’s a good way to make some money on top of a very simple starting package.

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All right. You said you had two batches of customers if you’re going to B2B. The first batch comes from friends and friends of friends and contacts that you personally have. The next batch has to come from people outside of your friendship circle. Where did you get the next big batch of people?

Thoran: So, for us it was really about working the kind of the PR angle, but we tried to work it a little bit differently than people usually do. Usually, the first PR from any company says, “Hey, I exist, I arrived, this is who I am. This is what I do and things like that.”

We kind of took a different approach. We were like we’re sitting on this mountain of really interesting data that no one is talking about. So, instead of talking about who we are, let’s start throwing out numbers. Let’s kind of position ourselves as this sort of research institution or data provider that starts releasing information about the market.

With that, we started generating a lot of interest and people started coming up to us and saying, “Hey, I saw the study that you did on such and such. I’m really interested in learning more about that data and seeing if I can use it in my day to day business.”

That started driving traffic to us and started driving customers to look for us. I was really excited when the first one of these customers that came up to us hired us because it means there’s value here beyond what I was doing before and beyond the people who knew before, but there’s potential value in this for everyone.

So, that’s kind of where the second batch of customers came from. I think going back to what we were saying a little bit earlier. Doing the content marketing, content-based marketing, content-based PR is a lot more interesting than just saying who you are and what you’re doing.

There are a lot of companies out there that could produce a lot of interesting results based on the data they’re gathering, even if it’s just application usage data, really simply stuff, you can get some interesting insights and you can publish that and you can drive traffic through that. I think that’s the way that we took and it’s the way that I find particularly interesting and something that still drives a lot of the leads that come up to us today.

Andrew: I see that you are a regular contributor to Tech Republic.

Thoran: Not as regular as I used to be, but yes. So, I used to write for them on the cloud computing blog. I wrote for, I think, two or two and a half years where I was doing weekly writing, writing weekly. As the company grew, I didn’t have time to do that anymore. So, I ended up scaling back and now every once in a while I’ll write something.

Andrew: Here are some of the posts I’ve seen you’ve written over there–“The Myth of the Always-On Cloud,” “How the Cloud Has Enabled the Consumerization of Applications,” “Leveraging the Cloud for IT Innovation,” “How the Cloud Allows Small Medium Sized Businesses to Retake Their Place as Drivers of Innovation in Tech.” Did you customers from that?

Thoran: So, we didn’t get any customers directly from that, but having that on my resume was really a really strong selling point for customers, kind of building trust, especially for the people who didn’t’ know me from a previous life, having written those posts and I actually wrote for a few other sites as well for a while.

That kind of gave me–made people trust me a little bit more. I wasn’t just someone that was falling out of the sky into their laps. If they went online and they searched for me, they could see that I was writing something somewhere–fairly interesting. We were driving some fairly interesting traffic. So, they found it interesting. So, that made it a little bit easier for them to trust me. So, it all adds up.

Andrew: I see. So, let’s go back to the reports. What’s the first report that you put together?

Thoran: The first report that we built–actually, the first number that we released was actually the number of ecommerce websites in Brazil. Back when we released this number–as I said, we talked to a lot of people in the market. People said when we started asking the companies that were in the space–there were companies that were saying, “Hey, I have 80 percent of the Brazilian ecommerce with me. I have 70 percent. I am the largest ecommerce company in Brazil,” and so on. We started asking, “Okay, if you’re the largest, how many clients do you have?” “I have 20 clients, 30 clients.” “What’s the total size?” We heard all numbers from 200 to 2 million and everything in between. We heard all sorts of different numbers.

So, we decided the first number that we would release would be how many ecommerce websites actually were there. It turns out that the number was about 450,000, which is a number that has remained roughly stable for the past years and it has grown a little bit, maybe five percent or something like that in terms of the overall number of sites.

That was kind of the first big number that we announced. Interestingly enough, it has become a reference. So, everybody quotes that number. Hopefully they’ll remember where it came from. Every once in a while, we’ll find people who don’t know where they’re quoting it from and we’ll remind them, “We came up with this number.”

Andrew: Does that mean you go to the website? You go to the author of the post and say, “This came from us? Can you please include us?”

Thoran: Sometimes we’ll do that, not in general. Usually when we’re in a meeting and someone will quote that number and they won’t say anything about where they got it from, we’ll say, “Hey, remember that me. I was the one that sent you that number originally. I’m the original source for that.” But that was kind of the first big number that really put us on the map.

We were saying something that was really different from what everyone else was saying. Everyone was saying–as I said, we heard numbers within all ranges, but the most frequently quotes number was about 20,000. Here comes a company that’s out of the blue saying there are 450,000. But we had the data to back it up.

Andrew: I see another one of you reports. This one is on a site that was published a few months ago. It gives me a sense of what you guys are up to. “A survey conducted by BigData Platform found that web pages have useful life of about three months, that means less than bees and ants.”

Thoran: Yes.

Andrew: “A site is considered dead when it does not have any kind of activity like updates or posts for a whole month.” So, that’s another kind of research you guys put together.

Thoran: Yeah. That’s one of the most recent numbers that we did. We try to visit every webpage in our collection at least once a week. Some of the pages will be hit every five minutes or so, some things will be hit every other day. We try to hit everything at least once a week. The way we see it as a website–we consider a website to be dead if there’s no relevant change to it for at least four consecutive weeks.

So, if it doesn’t change anything, there are no alterations to it, if it’s a blog and there’s no new posts on it or anything, if it’s an ecommerce website and there are no changes, no price changes, nothing.

Andrew: I see. Let me ask you this. I don’t think a lot of people who are listening to us are going to have access to that kind of data. But the idea of getting so much publicity and being an authority that people quote is really compelling. Do you think that if you just had a survey, do you think that would get some press or does it need to be something as hard as hard data?

Thoran: I think that surveys work. The problem with surveys is that usually I think it’s mostly about the subject matter that you choose and not so much about the method that you use to collect the data. So, you can do a survey. As long as it’s on an interesting topic and brings up something that’s relevant that no one else is talking about, then it will have a lot of impact and it will generate a lot of impact, it will drive a lot of interest into what you’re doing.

The problem is that a lot of times people will just repeat the same things over and over again. They’ll release a new survey that just says the same thing that every other survey has said in the past. And that’s kind of boring, right? So, if you’re going to say the same thing, at least try to say it in a different way, try to approach it from a different perspective. That’s kind of–in a sense that’s kind of what we do. We’re taking things that people kind of have talked about before, but we’re presenting data to actually measure it and back up the conclusions that people usually come to.

Andrew: How did you get the press to even notice this? You’re bootstrapped. You didn’t have a PR firm. What did you do?

Thoran: We did hire a PR firm.

Andrew: You did?

Thoran: Yes. That was an investment that we made. It was a challenging investment that we made. We had to count the pennies to make sure that we were getting–

Andrew: How much did you spend a month on him?

Thoran: We’re spending about 5,000 real. To give you a sense of how much that is, that’s a little bit more than what you’d pay an entry level developer. That’s kind of the choice that we had to make.

Andrew: But if I look at it in US dollars, we’re talking about $1,300. The other thing I notice is boy, the currency is really going down.

Thoran: Yeah.

Andrew: That’s painful.

Thoran: Yes.

Andrew: I see what you mean.

Thoran: That’s what I was saying. Kind of the choice that we had to make was either we hire someone else for the team to work on the product that we really, really need or we make this investment in PR and we use this to drive new customers. We were fortunate to find a very good PR agency that has really worked with us and to have the stuff that we were putting out really resonate with the press.

Andrew: Okay. I see actually also that it was commissioned by PayPal, this study.

Thoran: Yeah. That’s a strategy that we’ve been adopting lately. We saw that while our PR agency is really good and the numbers that we put out are really interesting, a lot of the times associating ourselves with the brands of our clients to release a number especially the larger clients will really help us get something through and reach the broader press.

That’s something that’s actually really useful as well. If you have something interesting to say, try to get a client to say it together with you or to back you up so that you get their branding. Usually for them, it’s completely inexpensive. They are interested in this because it drives press for them as well. And it’s a very interesting way to gain a lot of exposure.

Andrew: I see. I can see also in some cases partnering with them to put the data together where they help you get that data.

Thoran: Exactly. That’s a little bit more challenging, at least for us because of the compliance, concerns and privacy and things like that. But that could make a lot of sense depending on the use case.

Andrew: So, you started getting all these customers and then you ran into a cash flow issue. In fact, one customer became your biggest customer and what did you realize as soon as you signed up.

Thoran: So, basically we have two different business models depending on how the client is using the data, either a subscription-based or a transaction-based business model. Transaction is when the client is doing a lot of transactions. We have to charge per transaction because our cost goes up as transactions go up.

Andrew: Transaction meaning your research on the data.

Thoran: Yeah. So, let’s say they’re querying out data using a search keyword or doing a particular–but they’re querying it through the API. Whenever they’re querying something, you have to allocate the resources to answer that query in a timely fashion and deliver the results back and that drives up cost. The more queries they’re running online, the more cost goes up because you have to allocate more servers to answer the queries and so on.

So, we spent about six months negotiating with this client and said “Hey, I’m going to go live. I’m going to go into production. I’ll do about 10,000 API queries in the first month and then I’ll grow from there, 10-20 percent a month or something like that. The first month, they did, I think it was 50,000 or 60,000 API queries in the first month. The resulting revenues were huge. From the first month, they became our biggest client. I was like, “Yay, they’re our biggest clients, I’ll take everyone out to celebrate.” And we went out to lunch.

I was in the middle of lunch and I was thinking, “Wait a minute. They’ve done 60,000 queries. I have to put for the infrastructure that I use to run those queries. I’ll have to pay…” I don’t know exactly what it was. But let’s say it was $30,000–it was more than that. It was probably $50,000–$30,000 or $40,000 or something like that for the infrastructure they used next week. They’re only going to pay me for that in 60 days. I was like, “Where is the cash flow for that going to come from? And I got a little bit scared.

Andrew: So, where did the cash flow come from for that? You have to pay up front? You have to pay within 30 days. They get to pay you within 60 days.

Thoran: Exactly.

Andrew: There are 30 days of pain there. Where did the money come from?

Thoran: So, the first one came from negotiation. I had to sit down with our provider and say, “Hey, you’re either getting paid in 60 days or you’re not getting paid. It’s your choice. We were working out a deal. So, it was a little bit of a challenge.

The first few months with that client were a little bit of a challenge for us because it involved rethinking our contracts, rethinking our negotiations with our providers and getting really scared for a while that we weren’t able to pay anything. It turns out that people are a lot more flexible when you just tell them, “You either get paid in 60 days or you’re not getting paid at all.” It turns out that they can be quite flexible when they’re put in that situation.

We had good relationships with the suppliers as well and that helped them understand where we were coming from. So, we were able to renegotiate the first couple of months and then take the payment, take what our client was paying us, building some cash reserves to be able to pay that moving forward. It was a scary couple of months there. For a while there, I was scared that we might not make it. But fortunately, everything turned out alright.
Andrew: Tell me about another low point. That’s when people started cancelling with you. Why did so many start cancelling or how many people cancelled?

Thoran: So, we had, for a while, as I was saying, we got the first batch of clients through our PR at first and I was really excited when we were getting some momentum going. And then after probably four or five months or something like that, we started seeing a lot of cancellations, especially on the subscription side of the business.

We started seeing a lot of cancellations. And that was something that was really upsetting for me because I knew the value that we were delivering or I believed in the value that we were delivering, but for some reason or other, it turned out the clients weren’t really seeing the value that we were delivering. The first reaction–and this is something that I think we really need to fight–the first reaction, especially in the tech environment is to blame the end user.

You say, “They don’t understand what we’re doing. They don’t understand the value we’re adding. They don’t understand who to use the product we built and that’s the problem.” You really, really have to fight that because it turned out that the clients that were cancelling with us, they had some pretty valid concerns. They weren’t large businesses. They were small and medium businesses. And we weren’t ready to help them in the way that we should.

To be able to help them, our product needed to be a whole lot more self-service. They needed to be a lot more self-reliant. They needed to be able to do a lot more for what they were paying than they were actually able to do. And these were things that we kind of figured out by taking a step back, stop blaming the client, let’s try to see–reach out to one or two and see if they will give us some feedback and talk to us about what’s going on.

We actually managed to do that. So, they kind of gave us this feedback where you are not able to deliver what I need. I need to be more–I need more agility. I need to be able to do more things by myself. I need to do things without having to call your team. At the time, we weren’t able to provide that.

Andrew: So what do you do when they give you all that feedback and you can’t do anything with it? I heard you went to play videogames.

Thoran: Yeah.

Andrew: You did?

Thoran: So, usually when I’m stressed out, I’ll do one of two things. I’ll either sit at home and play videogames or I’ll go out for a run and run six miles, ten miles, something like that to kind of unwind.

In this particular case, I sat down and I started playing videogames. I was actually playing videogames in the office. We have a videogame in the office. “I don’t want to hear any more of this.” It was like three or four cancellations in the same day. They were the very first clients that had cancelled with us. I said, “I don’t want to hear any more about this.”

I started playing–I asked the other guys who were in the office to play with me. At first, they didn’t want to. They said, “I have a ton of stuff to do. I don’t want to.” They started playing with me. As I was doing nothing, it kind of hit me that, “Hey, maybe there’s something that we can do with this feedback. Maybe we can re-gear and kind of shift our focus a little bit as to what we’re doing.”

So, basically what we did was trying to stop at least for that moment, stop focusing on the small companies until we could actually service–kind of recognize the mistakes we had made and say, “We’re doing things wrong and blaming the client for it is not going to help us. So, we need to listen to the feedback. We need to recognize that we’re not able to provide the service that these guys need.

Andrew: I see. So, you realized that the thing that these people who needed more work to do on their own, that they all had in common was they were smaller clients. You couldn’t service those smaller clients. You could only work with the bigger clients where you guys do custom work for them and send them the final results and they don’t do it themselves or am I oversimplifying it?

Thoran: Well no, I think that’s kind of the gift of it. Basically, in addition to that, I it’s not so much custom work, but the larger clients would invest time in actually integrating with us through the APIs, which were well fleshed out and they were able to extract the date through there. But the smaller clients wanted to be able to do things without having to spend a lot of time in development.

They’re right. They’re developing their own business. They don’t want be developing integration with us just to be able to extract some data for a particular market study or something they need right then and there. The larger clients, they’re okay with spending a lot of time in integration because they have that kind of money to spend and the time to spend to do that. But the smaller clients don’t.

So, we needed to shift from this kind of API sort of larger enterprise focus–if we wanted to help them, we had to do something that was a lot more self-service and that required little to no integration, which is something that we didn’t have at all. So, that’s kind of the realization that hit me once I had calmed down. So, the videogames were really useful for me to calm down and unwind.

So, kind of figuring out a roadmap to say, “Hey, okay, we can’t help them today, but maybe in a few years or maybe in a few months or whatever it was, maybe we can.” Later that night, we started discussing plans on how we would go about doing that. It turns out that today we’re actually pretty well-suited to helping out these small businesses. So, it turned out for the best.

Andrew: All right. I’m going to close this out with a random question that could be completely bad or a good way to end things. Whenever I go to your site, I click on our company. I get taken to a URL that has this random set of letters at the end. Let me switch to the English version. Actually, here, I just went to the homepage. It’s!home/C1BCQ. What’s the C1BCQ at the end of your URL?

Thoran: So, that’s actually meaningless. It’s just a tracking device used by the website builder that we used to track clients, people who are visiting the site or tracking the individual.

Andrew: I see. So, anyone else who goes on there is not going to see the same thing.

Thoran: I guess not. I hadn’t particularly ever noticed it.

Andrew: My job is to notice all these details and to see what’s going on with them. I’m now doing it in an incognito window and if I click on English–

Thoran: It might generate the same one.

Andrew: It’s the same one. Yeah. Who are you guys with? Do you guys use Wix?

Thoran: Yes.

Andrew: Why Wix? You guys could create your own website using straight HTML or you could use WordPress.

Thoran: So, we did that for a while. Once again, it was a matter of focus. It turns out that Wix is one of the best tools that I could just give into the hands of the marketing people and say, “Have fun with it. Go on.”

Andrew: They don’t need your help to do anything.

Thoran: They don’t need my help or any of the developers to do that. So, the developers can focus on the product and the website can be something that they take care of by themselves. One of the first things that we did when we built the company is we hired the designer. He fleshed out this design on Adobe Illustrator or something. He sent us the design and said, “Implement this.”

And it took us, I don’t know, two or three months to be able to implement everything he drew because it was so fancy. Every time we wanted to change any of the content, we had to go into the code. After a while, you forget what’s in the code, so you assign it to the new person because it’s a boring task. The new person doesn’t understand the code, goes in, changes something, breaks everything.

Andrew: So, you just use this thing–I’m looking at their homepage. They’re catering to contractors. They’re catering to just regular mom and pop businesses. But it’s easy for marketers.

Thoran: Exactly. We’re kind of very frugal with the resources. So, we were looking for a tool that would allow the marketing people to do all the changes to the website that they wanted whenever they wanted and they didn’t have to bother us.

Andrew: I hear that a lot. That makes a lot of sense.

Thoran: Yeah. That’s the reason why we went with it.

Andrew: All right. I don’t know if that was a good question or not, but I do think it gave me a lot of insight into the way you guys think. All right. Thank you so much. Let’s end it on a high note. What’s your favorite part of having built all this?

Thoran: I think that my favorite part is whenever a client will come up with the use, that kind of breaks what we did. It’s something that we never thought about doing before. They’ll come up to us and say, “I wanted to do this with your data. It’s like man, why didn’t I think of that? That’s a really interesting use case for the data we’re able to provide.”

So, whenever that kind of thing happens, it’s really exciting for me. I think one of the greatest feelings you can have as a builder is when something takes what you’ve built and it’s not exactly breaks it, but adapts it into a completely different use than what you figured out. That’s when you see what people are actually using what you built and thinking about what you built.

It’s cool when you’re using it for what you’re showing them, what the original purpose was, but once they start using it for things that you never even though about before, that means they’re actually thinking about what you’re doing and thinking about new ways of applying what you’re doing and for me, that’s really exciting and really rewarding. That’s probably the highest point of my day is whenever someone comes up to me with something like that.

Andrew: I get that. The website is People can read it in both Portuguese and English.

Thoran: Yeah. They can practice their translation skills. They can learn a little bit of Portuguese there.

Andrew: Do I really need translation skills when my browser now will translate for me?

Thoran: Yeah. You can try to learn a little bit of Portuguese.

Andrew: Every time I hear people speak Portuguese, I feel like, “Oh, I got… Oh no, it’s not really Spanish. Its’ just a little off. Why am I not…?” I’m about to switch to using Safari day to day and Safari will not translate my pages, I don’t think, the way Chrome does. I don’t know what I’ll do without those lack of translations.

Thoran: You’ve got to have some translation skills.

Andrew: That’s not going to happen. I’ll have to fire up Chrome again. You know what? Someone on my team has been saying we are not letting Premium members know that we have a place on the site called the Dojo where only Premium members can come in and chat. There’s a reason for it, because I don’t want just anyone to come there.

But if you’ve heard my voice right now and you’re interested, just contact our tech support team, just email and they will get you in. I’m intentionally making it a little bit hard because I don’t want just anyone in. I want people who really value it.

If you do, you’ll get access to this Premium member’s only community. We’ll help you setup a mastermind of other members so you can chat with them, you can help from them and you can participate in–no one wants to participate in a conversation–you can help form other entrepreneurs and get to know them. I hate when people say, “Participate in the conversation,” and I realize I was about the throw that cliché out there.

Thoran: Right.

Andrew: All right. That is if you’re interested. And my two sponsors are–remember the gator if you’re looking for a hosting package and throw a /Mixergy at the end of it. So, it’s And if you need a developer, you don’t just want talented developers. You want the top developer– I’m grateful to the both of them for sponsoring.

Thoran, how did I do with the name?

Thoran: Nice. Very nice.

Andrew: Thank you so much for doing this interview and congratulations on all the success.

Thoran: Thank you. Thanks for the invite. I really enjoyed the conversation. It was really awesome.

Andrew: Thanks. Bye everyone.

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