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Episode · 2 years ago

David Hauser: Founder Of Virtual Telephone Company Grasshopper (Acquired By Citrix For $170 Million) Explains How He Builds SAAS Companies

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[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] I can remember listening to many podcasts over the years that featured a certain sponsor – Grasshopper, a company that provides virtual telephone services. David Hauser is the founder of, among many companies, Grasshopper, by far his most successful business. It reached $30 […] The post https://yaro.blog/27826/david-hauser/ (David Hauser: Founder Of Virtual Telephone Company Grasshopper (Acquired By Citrix For $170 Million) Explains How He Builds SAAS Companies) appeared first on https://yaro.blog (Yaro.Blog).

Just naturally, without even trying, Ithink I just continually to apply business concepts to health, optimis,tion, personal, optimistic as a category kind of human optimistic, verymuch like a Agul development or adul testing framework. Where we identifyissues we prioritize, we come up with hypothesis, we learn from it and wecontinue in this loop through optimistic welcome to the entrepreneurs journeypodcast, where we delevan to the stories of successful entrepreneurs. Soyou can discover what's possible. Today's guest is David Houser Hey. This is Jaro. So before I pressplay on today's episode on the J Podcast, I want to make sure you don'tmiss out on any of the future episodes. I release go to interviews Cubo andthere you can find a page where you can enter email address to sign up forupdates of whenever we release a new episode, you get an email to alwaysknow and have latest episodes as soon as they are released. That's interviews,Club Com now here is today's episode, Hello. This is Yaro and welcome toanother entrepreneur's journey interview stay in a line. I have aguest who, I have to admit. I used to hear a lot about his company or hisprevious company anyway, which I'll explain in a moment of. Let me Iproduce my guess. It's David Hazard, David Hello, hi, thanks for Avery,thanks for coming alone, so David well great wrong, but your biggest claim tofame is the company you found in grass offer and later sold. Is that right?Yeah I mean that's. Definitely the company we scaled, the furthest forsure, okay and the other I mean everyone's got their own personaldecision of what think is a claim to fame. It could have been in a highschool baseball team or something, but is there anything else that you want toput out there right now? Just so, we can sort of you know be interested inthe yeah whole story, yeah sure, so in high school I help found return path,which is a email management company still around today. I've also beeninvolved in a ton of other startups, so we built charge ify, I'm another stassproduct within grass hopper and that company we then sold as well and then,of course, lots of failed things along the way right, that's kind of the partof the entrepen journey, and then I've had the you know the pleasure to investin over probably about a hundred different companies at the angel stage.So I've seen a lot of different things in a lot of different industries. NowYeah, I was reading. Your you've got a wikipedia entry, so you know you knowyou're a big deal when you have wo competing entry, so I'm seeing intercomunbound a couple of big companies there that I'm quite aware of it that youangel or invested in so but grasshopper is certainly a company. I used to heara lot about, I think, probably mixed podcast. I think you guys used toadvertise like crazy on that with Andrew a yeah. We were good friendswith Andrew, and still I mean I love Andrew and we definitely are advertisedearly on there. It was one of our many channels of advertising right. Well,I'd love to dive in a little bit of that back story too, but of course,you're also the author of brand new book. Another reason to talk to you,and so I'd like to cover all of this: Let's go back in time first so born andraised in the states. Is there any kind of entrepreneur endeavors even beforeyour? You know that you have something at a teenager, best sound as anythingwhen you're younger than that yeah I mean I think I was always an entrepritdidn't even know what it really meant, and I think my family too, so my fatherran his own business, that my grandfather ran as well, so he I justkind of was exposed to that, and you know that experience. But yeah I meanis back as far as I can remember. I would try to sell whatever it was. Imade jewelry like with the the metal ties and beads and stuff so in essencebuying the cheapest materials possible, and you know selling it as a cute kidright and capitalizing on that. I think you know I did a number of differentthings like that played with baseball cards and trading cards and things thenI think when I really started to understand that I wanted to dosomething besides kind of a hobby that happened to make money. I started doingweb design, probably right before high school, and I said to my dad: I need acomputer and this was back when you, you buy a Dell computer and it was likefour thousand dollars right and he said. Okay, you can get a computer, but youhave to pay me back for it. So that kind of made me very aware of makingsure if I was going to make a decision that I was going to make money fromdoing so and started doing web design and kind of progress from there alongthat path, pretty early in high school or just before, actually so, eighthgrade. Okay, so I know when I was in grade seven, I'm twelve years old, I'mplaying with Nintendo to time stamp this. That was Super Intento from me. Ithink you're about ten years younger than me must have been like. It waslike the late s when you're yeah to play with her computer yeah. Exactly soI was. I was eighteen, so yes sim, I was well. You were really early, thoughokay, so tick US forward. You feel you have this obligation to pay back yourfather and make this business work, but you're also only twelve years old. SoI'm guessing you have normal homework...

...to do. You know all those other thingsgoing on right, yeah. So it's actually very interesting. So in eighth grade Iactually didn't have a tremendous man homework, because I went to a veryunique school in New York City, a progressive schools called stidy andcountry, a great experience, but definitely did not believe in homeworkand grades. So high school is a little different for me when I went to a quote:UNQUOTE: Regular High School, but I think at that point I had learned. Youknow both how to learn. I had learned time management and then going intohigh school. I guess my parents kind of overloaded my schedule a little bit, soI did three different sports and a lot of other extra curricular activitiesand that made me quickly understand time management, so homework neverreally gotten a way, and I think that was also helped now later on. When Ifound a grasshopper when I was in college right seem principals applied.I was going to school four days a week. I compressed my classes as much aspossible so that I could work as much as possible. What about the marketingside, because that's usually the hardest thing you know getting theclients and especially if you're, even a teenager, or grade eight convincingsomeone to buy from you anything unless it's lemonade or racial cards is he'squite an ask. So how did you do that? Yeah? I mean, I think you have to usewhat you have to your advantage right so rather than down playing my age, Ikind of you know, played to that and said you know, give me a chance. Youknow I'll. Do you know if you don't like it I'll refund all your moneyright so like I had that flexibility, because without a family or you don'tnecessarily bills to pay other than paying back the computer? I could havethat flexibility, so I kind of played that up and then just using anyrelationship. I possibly could so I did a few free projects. First, you know.Obviously I did my dad's company's website. I guess that was interest onthe you know: Payment for the computer. You know, associations and other peoplein the industry- and you know at this point you now. If you look back thatfar, you know we're talking fifteen twenty years now, actually little morethan that, you know, web design was much more imature than it is today. Sothe expectations, I think, were also tremendously lower, so being able toaccomplish that, I think was much easier than it is today. So I come thatcompany to not turn into your first multi million dollar business. So maybeit did I no. I definitely didn't okay, I mean Iquickly found that I didn't love doing it one and then to I think, it's veryhard to scale a service as business, and I understand that more today. Ithink at that time I just understood that it was like you said, verydifficult to get a consistent flow of clients and I was young, so I didn'tnecessarily understand why and I think that's one of the challenges scaling aservices business, but the nice thing is it. Let me kind of go into the nextthing, so I met some people. I created a banner advertising network andsoftware that managed banner advertising like this was early earlyon and I met those people because of doing web design. So I started buildingthat up. I met other people and like each step of the way it was just fromdoing what I was doing that I met someone else right. So were you alsolike a programmer? We were quite technically skilled, yeah, so never anylike traditional schooling. Necessarily, I think the only class I ever took wasan AP computer science class in in high school, because it was easy for me toget a good grade in it, but I taught myself so I buy books. I can remembersitting over. You know kind of Christmas break when school is outreading. You know how to program and cold fusion. You know a long ago,language right and just taught myself it just worked for me. Okay, was thereany inclination that, at this time that you were going to because I doesn'tsound like it, have a traditional career path like graduate go to college,Get a job or you know it sounds like your Ange provoe from day one, but itstill could have been like. If this doesn't work, you have to get a normaljob, guys your parents telling you that or something no. It was pretty clearthat this is what I was going to do. There was even discussion when I wasworking kind of the Internet boom before the crash in New York City likeI was down on broad street, like kind of the center of where things werehappening in New York. I considered not going to college. I think the only timemy mom or my parents kind of Said Hey. This is not a good choice is when they.When that conversation came up, and my mom quite clearly said. Look if youreally don't want to go, that's fine, but I would suggest you do in case.Something happens right and- and something did happen to that industrybut, more importantly, just a mature and things like that. So I'm glad thatI listened, but I went to a very entrepreneurial school. I applied toBabson College, which is the only school. I wanted to go to verymachenery course structure and things like that. So it was clear like I wasnot going to get a job. You know quote unquote regular job. So normally in myinterviews, we kind of brush past the teenage years because there's not a lothappening there, but I feel like we almost have to spend a bit more timehere with I. So can you take us for with that? This Banner AdvertisingManagement Company had that go, and you know what was next yeah so that didreasonably well, I mean it enough money to kind of you know pay for things. Youwant as a teenager right like go out to dinner or do stuff like that. It wasn'ta massive success, but w we were doing...

...quite well at it and in a very earlyspace from there I looked at all sorts of other things and ultimately met.Some people in New York went to work for James at his company and he wasrunning a company called the square com, which was a social network for IvyLeague graduates, kind of sounds familiar right. Wait way before facebook did some work with him and ended up founding a company in the email,space, return path with him and a few others, and that's right around when Iwas kind of considering you know, do I go to college or not. I ultimatelydecided that I was going to go to college, so I went and focused on thatstill did stuff on the sides for the banner ads were still happening. WhileI started college and that was providing again reasonable income, butit wasn't scaling quickly, focus probably the first year to two incollege, a little bit more on school. But then by my sophomore year goinginto junior year, I was pretty focused on starting something and that's whengrasshopper started so return path. Will you involve with that much andwhat was that exactly yeah return path? The concept was actually very simple.It started it's way more complex now as the company's been around for you knowtwenty years, but the concept was very simple: people change their emailaddresses for three core reasons. Right you get a new job, you leave school orat the time you change, quote unquote: Internet providers, because this waslike time of a Ol and such right, and this was for a lot of companies. Theonly way they had to contact you. So if a company spent you know a thousanddollars acquiring customer and your email address changed, that's a reallybig problem, so we came up with a solution that said, you know, give usyour new email address, we'll filter out all the spam and things you don'twant and make sure you get the things that you do want. We had agreementswith a bunch of people that were large Internet providers to collect that data.So we had this database of old and new ended up doing a partnership with USPostal Service. So if you look on the bottom of the form there, you know itsays what was your old email address? What's your new email address if it'schanged today, it's way more complex than that and the business is, you knowscaled significantly, but that was the concept and it was very interesting inthe time- and I think quite honestly, that concept alone is still veryinteresting yeah. It sounds like you were almost inventing the google spamfilter before Google existed, combined with some sort of Malory direction,digitally I'm thinking at the time too. That would have been. I mean somethingthat technically was way more challenging than it sounds like I wasthinking for a minute, Barry you're, just talking about a human beingsitting there deciding. No, this England doesn't go forward. Yes, thisone does go forward. You know is a service like that, but it was prettyrudimentary rules when we started right, like you know, do you want to receivequote unquote, promotional items and things like that compared with you know,actual companies that know who you are and want to be reaching out to so likemaking sure that you would get the email from e trade right, becausethat's a pretty important one compared to the email from you know, restorationhardware saying please come back and buy from US m okay, and so you were.You were part of the founding team, but it sounds like you went and focused ina university more than that yeah I was. I was only there for about sixty eightmonths. I built some of the original prototypes and helped with that stuff.We raised in capital brought in an outside team. That team has since grownthe business, pretty significantly you still en anyway involved to own, oreven I mean I have a tiny ownership, but after like three rounds or fourrounds of funding, but they lotyou know, I don't think it's a necessarily. Youknow life changing our meaningful amount as much as it was goodexperience. Okay. So how does all this experience were talking bannermanagement, email management, website creation, development all eventuallyleads to grass upper? How old were you when you start that, as it was mysophomore to junior year of college oasted, one thousand nine teen n TwentyTwenty One yea? So two thousand and three roughly so, post COM crashbubbles blowing on up, so you already were somewhat in the redirecting ofinformation world with with return Pat, so there must be a connection to pressup for their somehow and what's your hell, but I wish it was something likethat, but it was actually much more simple than that, which was in all ofthese experiences. One thing was consistent that I or my founder friendsor whoever it was in all these small businesses needed a easy solution forphones right and the solution that everyone picked. was you get a cellphone or you have a cell phone and you lift? That is the phone number right,and so this was, you know, still earliest days of cell phone. So itwasn't tremendously cheap. There were still like long distance charges andstuff right, but that was kind of the solution available for dealing withphone calls for businesses, and I said there has to be about er way because aI can't answer my phone in the middle of class or you know at home. That'snot very professional. Looked around and just didn't find anything like this. So what was very interesting is thetechnology existed right, PBX is, or you know, phone systems have existedfor far longer than that, but no one at...

...the time had packaged it for a smallbusiness, both from a pricing standpoint or technology standpoint interms of access, meaning you had to buy expensive equipment. I needed to beinstalled on a physical location. If I wanted this type of a service, meaningyou know extensions, transferring on hold music the stuff you expect in abusiness right. So that's really where it came from, and I had no backgroundin Telecom. I didn't understand it all what was involved or how to do it. Thiswas far before Tilio was available or any sort of API that you could do anyof this stuff, so our first server literally had two t ones plugged intothe back in the data center, and that was it like was pretty simple okay, so I'mthinking this is really early days too, I mean, when I was hearing about grasshopper and what you guys did it was, must have been like two thousand andten eleven twelve thirteen era, and it sounded kind of new and cool. Then itwould have been really new and cool to be sort of looking at the Internet as away to do anything with the phone. I think sky probably was just surfacingaround that. I think was just after that. Okay, so it's straight, you werestantial dealing with something fairly cutting edge, even though it like youjust described it. The technology itself may not have been, but to bring it to the world of digital media.I guess maybe that was where it was new. Can you check us for how did you? Whatwas the first premise of this company, and how did you get your first customeryeah? The premise was quite simple: providing a professional image forsmall businesses via their phone systems, and we had a different brandname. It wasn't grass hopper at the time we didn't understand how to marketthe only benefit we had to be quite honest with you is because it wassorely. This was before Google Edwards. We were able to purchase clicks onamature at the time, which were very, very, very cheap right. So you knowyou're talking one cent, you know type clicks that were highly targeted, sowhat kind of customers came from just that? What was he? What was the phrase?What was a search phase, for example? But you you target D, You remember backthen yeah. It was like phone system, small business phone like very genericstuff, as it progressed over time. People start to understand virtual, theword virtual. So then we started a like virtual phone system. Stuff like that,but I mean our first thousand. Customers came from paid ads. We'vebeen pushed very hard on word of mouth. So from that day, moving forward, wemaintained at or above thirty percent of our ongoing new customers from wordof mouth and yeah. I think that also led to our decision to investtremendously in customer service years later. But so, if you take those twothings that compounds pretty quickly with a SASS business right, a thousandcustomers from paid advertising continue to do the paid advertising andget thirty percent from referrals compounds. Can you explain just forthose maybe not too technically minded, because this is a sort of start upwhere you know you get your first customer they're buying a phone servicefrom you from your end. You know, as a guy still in university, setting thiscompany up. Let me know if you had partners who keep saying we so itsounds like you definitely had some co founders there. What did you guys do atthe back and like to create the service for this first customer? And then youknow, you obviously have to have a website all the early day, businessbuilding stuff, because I guess you were quite experienced by them, but alot of listeners still are very curious about that. First phase of initialstart up, because that's kind of where people struggle the most, I think, yeah.So honestly, we faked everything. As long as we could, I mean we built thewebsite ourselves and like front page pro and, like I mean not in a good way,if it was easy and fast to do we faked as much as possible. The only thingthat we invested in was building the court back and software, which I builtmyself. I M so coated. It created the website and then we literally launchedbefore we had an online interface. At the time we were also able to chargetends a month for online access, so the primary way you would access. Thiswould be over the phone both set up and listening to voice mails. We built noback in infrastructure for us, so you would call from a customer serviceperspective and I would answer the phone and be typing sequel statementsinto a database to find you as a customer right select. You know starfrom customer where you know whatever right, so we literally did the bareminimum possible and focused all of our capital on as much marketing as wecould possibly do to drive customers on to mind talking a bit about how themargins work with that kind of business. Even back, then a shirt than today yeah.The margins were always attractive for two reasons: one is a STAS business.You don't have to obviously re engage your customers every month or resellevery month or quarter or a year. But more importantly, we had a positivecash cycle, meaning we would buy minutes and customers in Esten forconsume minutes right. However, the way we charge was we would, you wouldprepay us for the upcoming month and then you would post pay us for theminute, so you're prepaying for the plan or your access to our system likeany phone and then all O of our back...

...end contracts gave us between sixtyninety and sometimes longer payment periods. So I would be able to collectfully both your pre and post paid payments before I even had to pay thebill for any cost involved. The actual margins, like a good staff business youknow in the early days, were probably around seventy percent. We obviouslypush that up much higher than that closer to and into the es as we scaled.But you know, seventy percent gross margins pretty attract ridiculous yeah.Okay, just to clarify, think mean some people. I know when I first heard aboutgrasser was like so I get a phone number that is whatever I want it to bein the states and as like a virtual number, so people can call and they caneven voice male and essentially I can present my business with a number.That's more professional or more global was that the like the main pitch. Eventoday, it seems like it's with the main pitch with the company. Is that Yeah R?I N T? I don't think it's changed very much when we started. We only did tollfree numbers, for example. Now, obviously you know grass opera offersnumbers in every state and city and the world a number of countries, themultiple numbers, much more complex things like voice mail, transcriptionall sorts of cool stuff. Today, Texta. Obviously you can text to and from thenumbers and and such, but the core premise has always been the same: aprofessional image via your phone number in a virtual way, and I thinkone of the things that always made us interesting was: we were agnostic toyour technology, meaning we had competitors pop up here and there. Alot of them went the voice over Ip routes. You had to buy physical phonesfrom them, or you had to you know, have like an activity from theirconnectivity partners and whatever else we didn't care. If you had a cell phonea voice over, it p line a skippon number like it all of it works with nohardware software to buy or in stall. You just do that. Okay. So when you getyour first one sand, customers, I don't know you didn't say how quickly thathappened, but even if it wasn't that quickly, it's still a lot of people andalready I'm assuming somewhat successful company you're thinking.This is my future. The way we go right. Can you tell us a little bit about manygrowing pains? What does it mean to have a thousand versus one customerwith that kind of business, yeah yeah, so very quickly found out the biggestgrowing pain we had was people wanted to call us to ask questions, becausethe way we set stuff up was pretty crappy right. So there were a lot ofquestions about set up. We had this complex manual that you had to likepress keys on the phone to program. Things like nothing was good about itfrom a on boarding perspective or Oui perspective right, so the growing painwas like. We just got too many phone calls of people trying to set up theirsystem, so that was literally. Our first hire was someone to answer phonesand answer questions now. The difficulty here is. We had to hiresomeone that knew how to write sequel statements and and like a sort oftechnical right rig. So it wasn't like going to this interface and do this. Sois it kind of difficult hire, but I'm glad we did it. Okay, so customerservice S to protect person comes on board yeah, I mean that's, not a normalcombination of skills. In fact, it's almost the entasis of those kills. Youknow being technically not really good at customers ere. So, okay, so onequestion: What was the starting price because I'm trying to put my head like?What's a thousand customers worth to you with your you know, the thestarting price was always nine d N. Ninety five, it's kind of up since then,but the average customer paid about forty dollars a month. Okay, so tak usforward from the like. You said the word of mild started: kicking you knowyour first thousand. You got with paid advertising. What did it look like froman internal perspective in the growth of this company? You know: was theirmanagement team put on board, we looking to get more investors?Obviously I'm assuming you grew with more customer service and built outyour web into face to provide more information. What was the growth of thegrowth was no outside capital ever so we never looked for investors. Okay, wejust doubled down on market it. Every dollar we had, we put into marketingevery credit card. We had. We used like any possible way. We could findsomething we did and at the time American Express gave us quite a bigline. So that was helpful and literally I so angry. What was the that soundslike you, guys are very aggressive in terms of your girl strategy, so I meanwe saw a profitable business. So all our goal was when we started. I was tobuild something we love doing and it was a profitable business. Looking backon kind of the COM, herror of like crazy ideas that no way could have evermade money just what it was kind of the antithesis of what we wanted to do. Sothat was our goal. We never had an exit plan, which is why we didn't getinvestors. We just wanted to build something that we love going to everyday. Okay, so no investors, every penny too, going towards probably I'mguessing marketing as a big part of that, then, can you maas? Ah My King?So what does that start to look like as the Internet maturing? Obviously,Google s coming into the play? Google ad words eventually youtube videomarketing, podcast marketing. You know...

I a so so how does it all of all yeahso because of our early success was you know, Ammata and you know kind of thosesearch or paid ads? Obviously we went pretty hard in to go ad wards and tryto spend as much as we logically could based on our payback cycles, and thenyou know how well we could optimize and we were not great at that time atoptimize. So we spent a lot of time doing that we we played with all sortsof other channels and always did throughout all of the years right. Soyou know, for example, putting advertised its on trays on theairplanes right, because there were some commuter airplanes going betweenBoston and New York. We tested X, m serious radio advertising, literally asone of the first advertisers on Howard Stern when he swopped over from youknow, regular radio, which we discovered is a great channel for usand ultimately, over a long period of time. You know scaled that to a twelvemillion dollar a year, spend on terrestrial radio alone in the finalyear before we sold it. So things like that, I think the one big changethroughout that whole period of time right so and obviously we did all ofthe bits and pieces between their banner ads and everything else andtried every medium or channel. We possibly could print ads in magazineswhich were not all that great but return some value. I guess at somepoint the biggest change throughout that is. We really started tounderstand AB testing and optimistic and when we did that all of ourchannels got better and we created a culture internally of AB testing anddata and answering questions with data that I think changed the company morethan I say M, I'm actually quite interested in how mainstreamgrasshopper became or even the target market seems to be. You know I wouldhave thought it was a very niche small business owner only kind of targetmarket, but if you're going on radio, it sounds like you're kind of going forthe whole planet in some ways. As a customer base yeah, we always looked atourselves as a consumer marketing company. So although we sold to s MB orsmall businesses and business people in general are type of customer, the oneto ten employee customer always consumed and acted like a consumer. Sothat means a lot of direct advertising branding all of those things you woulddo in traditional consumer advertising compared with white papers and salestaff and engagement that you would do on a Beta bs, so radio obviously wasvery targeted still, so we weren't advertising necessarily at the start onmore mainstream channels. News talk, sports were kind of a target on x, MSeris when we expanded into standard radio or terrestrial radio thatdefinitely expanded to morning drive time and evening drive time to catchentrepen in the car people like that, but yeah I mean very wide market right.Anyone from the consultant working at home through the the guy, that's out,you know doing long care M. Okay, I can see why Ange Warner's audience withnixey would have been pretty square. Her target audience right, Beric, yeah,okay, so you obviously sold the company now the claim the thing that seems tobe associate with you everywhere, as you hustled your way to a thirtymillion dollar average run rate with this company and then sold it. So couldyou take us through O K, why you decide to sell it and how your life changedand so on yeah yeah, so we never planned to sell like I said before, soit was very surprising for us and also probably not within our plans. I thinkit worked out for a number of reasons. There were some core things that wereimportant to us. We had built a brand that we really loved and cared aboutgrass hopper. We people identified, you know kind of entrepreneur andentrepreneurship with the word grass upper, so when we always had offers allsorts of times for people to buy the company or investors and we always turnthem down. One of the core things here was that the company buying at the timecitric always kept the brand right. So that was one they cared about ourpeople making sure they were retaining. That was too and then obviously from anentreprise tive. I think they were valuing it at a future number comparedto where we valued it today. So what it came down to for me and my businesspartner, I had one business partner and at that you know, when we sold that wehad a management team that I really came down to. As you know, they werepaying forward to value. So it was just a derision for us where, asentrepreneur is a hundred percent of our NWOT is tied up in a non liquidasset. That is, you know, highly volatile, and if someone is willing toforward pay the value, a significant amount- and you know kind of de riskthat whole scenario, it's something that you kind of have to consider. Ithink the final piece that made it all fit together was, I think it made sensefor the business from a scale perspective being able to cross sellingup, sell within a large organization, probably some of the formalities andthings that happen in a big organization. As we grew past thirtymillion a year in revenue, so all of those things fit together and that justbrought it together was citric systems just one of many companies the approachto, and then they just have to have t a...

...deal that was interesting, yeah, solots of people approach us or over the years citric was the only one at thattime that we were discussing with- and you know we had all sorts ofdiscussions internally, you know do we, you know shop this deal and create anauction between multiple buyers and and all this stuff, and obviously we hadrecommendations that that's the best thing to do. I really actually don'tthink it's the best thing to do in a lot of cases. It kills deals in most.We always hear about the ones where you know four companies like Apple Ciscoand whoever all biddy at it. Like that's the that's the rare scenario,not the standard. So for us it was much more important to come to a deal thatwas well structured, suitable for everyone and beyond. Just the totalpurchase numbers well structured from an Estro perspective and all the otherthings that go into a deal and getting it done, and we also didn't want thisattraction right. We were running a business that we had no back stop to.If we screwed up right like there were no investors, there's no, you know ifwe screw up, so we couldn't take our eye off the ball. So we didn't want togo down that past. So only one we were talking to his ham with the tact so as per year work ipedi entry endedup selling in two thousand and fifteen for a hundred and sixty five million incash and eight point six million in stock, I'm assuming at that point youwere certainly financially free and able to do whatever you want, but wehaven't even mentioned that before all this happened, you actually startedsome other companies on the way right. So it sounds like you would actuallyseparated a little bit in in terms of day to day roll a grasshopper. Beforethen, is that correct to give you time to do these other projects? Are youjust really using your hours very well, because I just I think, just using my hoursreally well? Okay, I mean I was still fully involved in grass Ofer, okay, sowhen grass upper the deal closed, the money's in your bank account what wereyou thinking was next for you at that time. That's only three years ago, yeah,it was really difficult to actually you know. We left the company immediately,which was part of the deal because they didn't need us. We had a managementteam in place and I was actually more beneficial for citric not to have twomore. You know, entrepreneurs to put in you know highly paid. You know titledPositions for no reason so, like literally, you know, sail and then nextday email addresses change like everything's different, so there's abig emotional component there right now for twelve years I was the grass operaguy, like that, was my identity, like that. I was just known as that to I'mno longer there, so I think it was. It was a little bit emotional. In that way,I spent a lot of time talking to other people who have gone through exits andthe one common theme I heard across the board was just don't rush into anything,no matter what it is and I'm not the type of person that sat idol. So thatwas very difficult for me to hear- and I probably wished I listened more tothat. So my reaction was, I did lots of different little things so, rather thanrushing full head into one thing, I went and Helped v Fund on the WestCoast and did an entrepen residence with them. I did some investing. I didsome advising some consulting you know kind of test and feel where I liked todo things and where I didn't and I'm glad I did that I wish looking back onit. I probably spent a little bit more time dealing with the emotional side ofit initially, but because of it, I discovered a lot of great things aboutmyself and mindfulness and Meditation Yoga things like that and actually dida two hundred hour yoga teacher training and started that as a whole.New Journey for myself re, that's quite a difference from the the pace of beinga founder, but not that uncommon combination, isn't it or ourprogression in the path. Before we kind of talk about you know your book andwhat you've been doing the last few years around this subject, I can seethe switch right there just wanted to touch on so charg ify, all these othercompanies that you were pop survey. I don't know how much of this is stillgoing. You one of these serio lunch printers, which kind of you have A. Idon't know what s aside housel versus an actual I mean you got mark Cubaninvesting in charge of five, so it probably not a side hustle, you know.Are they still running? Are you still involved with them? What's going onwith those ones yeah? So I mean we started lots of stuff, both inside ofgrass hopper and out charge. If I was you know, I'd say one of the moresuccessful ones, a lot of the others we closed down, so company called predalpop survey and company that was related to it. We ultimately donated to acharity that you know now sold the business off to make some money, sothat was helpful charge. FY is the one that kind of done the best that team isstill in place. We sold the company to a fund that were heavily involved infunded, buys SASS companies then scales them. So you know charge if I wasgrowing in a reasonable percent. Nothing fast, nothing, great they've,more than doubled or tripled that growth rate and they're doing very well.I don't know the exact revenue numbers now, but I mean they'll probably be inthe ten million dollar range soon. I assumeI don't see that those data that that date closely anymore. What's the uniqueis like? What's the US P, so they helpd...

...other people that are selling thingsvias as bill and charge their customers right. So, instead of building your ownbilling system, you just outsit this, and you know you can use any gate way.You want stripe or whatever else doesn't really matter. But this is youknow all the plans discount subscriptions history. You know meterbilling very complex scenarios where you have both you know, metered andother stuff, and that we built this internally because we had a need for itright. We were going hundreds of thousands of customers, millions ofminutes in a very fast pace, so we ultimately internally grass up er builtour billing system three separate times and charge. If I was you know, kind ofcame out of that right, interesting, okay, you obviously were a busy guy inthe last fifteen. Maybe twenty years really since you're are twelve yearsold in some ways. So twenty five years and you just recently sort of realizeyou have to kind of post exiting, take care of some other parts of your lifewith with meditation you probably looked at mindfulness and so on nowyou're the author and this I guess why you know it's funny when you you get tohear people pop on podcast, and so only there everywhere and like oh you've,written a new book and it's like, and it makes a lot of sense, but in yourbook called evolve, optimize life body and mind. It's certainly doesn't soundlike it's specifically a business book. It sounds more like it's what you'vebeen through in the last few years, perhaps as a reaction to your businesstime, but also looking at how to use these kind of concepts as anentrepreneur, I'm assuming, because, obviously you want to optimize yourproductivity, your output, so he tells a little bit about that book and maybeeven we can cover a few of the concepts, sure yeah a hundred percent so yeah.It's definitely not a business book. But what's really interesting is justnaturally without even trying. I think I just continually to apply businessconcepts to health optimist on personal optimis ation as a category kind ofhuman optimistic right. So the book is laid out in a framework very much likea agal development or agile testing framework. Where we identify issues weprioritize, we come up with hypothesis, we learned from it and we can continuein this loop through optimist ion right and I don't think anyone's reallyapplied that to health before and my journey, I'm not someone that doesthings half way, so I guess that's good and bad, but you know, for example, whyI was a grasshopper. You know I'd always struggle with the kind of beingoverweight and not really happy with it. Follow the traditional advice like eat,low fat, make sure you exercise. So I identify I'm like okay. Well, thisisn't working for me. So let me do something about it, so I went all outon exercise probably about eight years ago, maybe ten years ago now, when fromnot running at all, to running Boston Marathon, not running it fast, but Imean I completed it. You know went from not riding a bike since I was a kid andjust kind of around to doing triath and a half iron man right well andultimately destroyed my knees, and I wasn't very happy. I lost some weightbut, more importantly, I didn't feel good right. Like I had pains in my legsand my body, I was taking Avaloros Prin to feel better. I had brain fog, myproductivity was slowing down and these were affecting my business and mepersonally, so I started on the kind of the journey that a lot of people do soI started looking at Diet. How do I feel my body I started looking at. Howdo I use my doctor effectively so kind of from never going to a doctor to nowI see it my doctor regularly and do blood tests. I just did one thismorning, which is like almost a small blood donation. You know so again. Youknow zero all the way to, and I think the book provides a nice framework tobe used, but also insight into all these areas that I've spent way toomuch time and money of dealing with, so other people don't have to so. If we gogo back in time and or maybe even talk about this for a person listening whois earlier at the early stages of starting a business and also maybethey're, not thinking about the health aspect, they're, certainly thinkingabout the procity aspect, because they're probably thinking they have toget a lot done every day, what are one or two or three, the most importantthings to get right and I'll say it as an entrepreneur, but really it's as ahuman being. Who wants to do a lot with their life, as you have so far? Now inhindsight, especially what can you say? Maybe you would even do differently,although you've been very successful, you know, perhaps you would haverebalanced certain things in Hindside, a hundred percent. I would have focusedfar more on the fuel going to my body, so my food consumption- and you know Ihave very specific personal. You know opinions about what I think is anoptimal human diet. In my case, what I found is, you know a low carb kind ofCEDO. getic diet is optimal for me and while I don't promote that necessarilyto people, I promote the idea of finding the optimal diet for you andoptimal means peak performnce, both...

...mentally and physically right. So Icare much less about what other people are saying are the best things oroptimal, or you know why you should eat Vegan or this or that, like none ofthose matter right, what matters is peak performance? Can I reduce brainfog? Can I not feel tired during the day and for me, one of the biggestthings was I felt like I was always hungry and getting rid of thatincreases productivity instantly, because I'm no longer thinking about mynext meal or what I need to deal with like it's just gone like just goneright, so I wish that I had spent more time. Looking back on fuel and then thecategory after that is probably sleep, and I could talk forever about sleep,but between those two I think focusing on those are probably the first areas Iwould care about. So how does that link to being more productive? Because Imean I think it should be obvious: better fuel, more energy, better sleep,more recovery, but let's just face it. The world of you know tech start up.Cliche is don't sleep at a pizza, while you're coating on a computer right,yeah, which I did you like. I ordered pizzas for the whole team, and,like I mean I did it, I get it yeah I mean look. There are obviously timeswhen staying up all night is important and critical. I did it for for yearsand probably far too long, it's easier to do when you're younger, but whenI've started to realize more and more is if I can be most productive in myhours- awake, that's probably the best thing, and so, if you're looking forlike the easiest tips and tricks like what I always tell people is like lookwake up as early as possible as close to the sunrise as possible without analarm clock which automatically forces you to go to bed earlier. However, thebest thing about this: Besides it it's the natural you know, Circadian Rhythmand all those things we can talk about. The best thing is most people are notawake at five or six am so. Some of my most productive hours of the day are atfive or six. AM The kids aren't awake? There's nothing happening, I'm notgetting phone calls. Emails are far slower, less distractions. I can getfocused work in done so people always say like. Oh, my God, you get so muchdone like you know, there's not enough hours in the day like yeah. There areenough hours in the day. If you get up two hours before all everyone else,you've bought two hours right because the in verses I spent two hours atnight, watching television or you know, binge watching Netlik or doingsomething unrelated and not helpful, just to stay up later. Okay, so is thebook available currently or we is it coming soon? It's coming soon, so youcan find information at evolved book Com. You will be released in thebeginning of next year. We're pretty excited about it. A lot of work hasgotten into it from personal perspective and tremendous amount ofresearch and personal testing, as well, as you know, scientific study and time.But what we're most excited about is like it's never been all put togetherin one place like this, with a framework that allows each person totake personal responsibility and go on their own journey. Okay Evolve Book Com.I might try and stagger the release of our episode David, an get it closer tothe release date. So you, when you're listening to this, you might actuallybe able to grab the book or very soon grab the book. That's two thousand andnineteen for those listening, because I was in podcast e listener to handtwenty five. You know so exactly one one O we wrap up questions beforewe had off David. I am curious from the point of view of an entrepreneur who'sinterested in starting a SASS. It sounds like that's been your thing.You're definitely had a greater success with that. What is the most importantthing to get right with the brand new SAS start up yeah. So I get asked us all the time,especially as we look at investor decks and other stuff. I think a hundredpercent it's getting to a real problem that people have and solving thatproblem, not just providing a painkiller but really solving theproblem and making sure people are willing to pay for it right. So ifpeople are not willing to pay for it, I'm not interested in it's, not a SASScompany. I just don't understand. You know that type of a business it's muchmore consumer related, but so solve a real problem that is tremendouslypainful for me and make sure that I'm willing to pay for it. If you cananswer those two questions, you are on the right track for something: Okay,good advice, not always easy advice to find the sweet spot, but that's themagic right. Okay, anything else you want to throw out of tabid before werap UBI call honestly, the only thing I'd I always kind of had, and peoplealways ask me like. What's the one piece of advice, one piece of advice Ialways give, is just do something right just go out and do anything. The worstis just talking about it and not doing something, because each step of the wayyou'll learn what it is right. So maybe you have maybe have the wrong problemmay be of the wrong solution. Maybe people aren't paying you, however, ifyou have gotten to that point, where you've created something and someone'snot paying you, you are far farther along than talking about it in aninvestor deck, and you know pretending that you think you know things right.Just go, do something anything and you'll end up far further far faster,okay, fantastic so of all book com for...

...when the book is available, and then Iknow you have David houseroom: Are there any other web sites for peopleyou want to send them to yeah? Those are probably a two core ones: VolveBook Com and David Houser Com always has the most update information. Okay,awesome well day. We thank you for for spending some time with us today. Iappreciate the back story there. You certainly are a serial entrepreneur andyou've done it all very young, so you've still got another career aheadof you, which interesting to see what that looks like could be. You know,Spiritual Gurus, author, you never know what these things yeah, I mean we'll see where it goes.Honestly. I just want to continue my purposes empowering other people. I'velearned to know and kind of give back. So that's my purpose right now, andhopefully the book can help with that. Okay, I and done that note. So I thankeveryone for listening in. I will talk to you soon. Recently I published a blog post and apodcast explaining how I haven't handled my own email in over twelveyears. Now after I release that content, I've had people come up to me going.What do you mean? How have you not handle your email? What do you? What isthat? How do you do that? Now I've been a person who very early on realizedthat email is a huge time suck like you probably are now I used to deal withall my email myself. I think most people on the planet still do that.Their email in box is something they see as their own. They have to dealwith it. I learned that that in box by emailing box is the biggest protitkiller time suck, not to mention it goes completely against my goal for thelaptop lifestyle. If I want the freedom to travel to run my business anywhere,I can't be checking my email up four or five six times a day, worrying aboutyou, know, customer complaints or new jobs coming in and that's what I usedto do until about twelve years ago, I hired my first ever in box manager, andthat was a person who became absolutely vital to not just my business to mylife. It significantly reduced my stress because I think, like mostpeople, you're, probably getting up early in the morning and handling youremail, then, and possibly spending one or two or even three hours. The entiremorning can be wiped out. Just replying to messages doesn't move your lifeforward. It doesn't move your business for it's kind of like busy work ormaybe you're coming home at night to the big pile of emails and you've gotpotential. Customer queries. You've got clients who are asking for things.These are important messages and you end up losing your entire evening whenyou'd rather be relaxing spending time with friends or family or even watchingnet Flix, you know whatever it is. You want to do, but you've got this bigpilot email that you know is not going to get smaller unless you go and dealwith that. You know the next day will be more in mails coming in the next day.There's morning, moth coming in so for me, I made sure that once I got rid ofit, I never had to deal with it again, so I've had either one or two eventhree people handling my inbox specialists for over twelve years now,and I'm very excited to announce as a special new sponsor of this podcast,I'd like to introduce you to in box done com, which is a brand new service,essentially offering what I'm talking about here, a dedicated email, inboxmanager that can become part of your team and really take over what is verylikely the single biggest stress, point time, suck practi killer in yourbusiness and your life, no matter what you're doing so. This person can do asmuch or as little as you like. They can potentially just come in and come upwith some systems, some automatic replies and templates, and they canjust be there clearing your in box, sorting things for you, so you don'thave to deal with it yourself, and you know you don't have that scatteredfeeling when you look at your email or email can be taken off your platecompletely. So your dedicated in lock manager will deal with every messagethat comes into your in box and also set up some really intelligent systemsfor doing things that, maybe you don't do right now, or maybe you kind of do.For example, if you have some kind of process for following up with potentialcustomers, so people who so interested buying your products of services, maybejust email in a question: Do you have a intelligently designed process forchasing them up over a period of weeks with several emails? And you know, areyou doing that yourself right now? Well, imagine you've got someone who handlesthat its schedule, it's part of their job, to make sure that goes out in astrategic way. The same goes for dealing with potential cancellations orrefund. So if you have a membership site now or payment plans, this personcan come up with a system for strategically handling. Those kind ofquarries that to reduce your cancellation and refund rates is just acouple of ways. You can actually increase your profits or reduce yourlosses with a really Taylor dedicated in box manager. This is actually, infact, what we have in my business right now, my information product businesswith my blog and my podcast and all my teaching products. So all of thissounds interesting to you. If you'd like to learn more about the service goto in box duncome, and you can find an application form there to apply to getyour own dedicated inbox manager as well. Just a word of warning, though,because of the personalized nature of this service, they can only take on afew clients each month because you do get your own dedicated inbox manager,so that person is specially trained,...

...and that takes time. So they have alimit to the number of people they can take on board each month and really itgoes to the best applicant. So do a great job applying and obviously, ifyou're a great fit for the service, you will get your own dedicated in boxmanager and email could be taken completely out of your life and you'llbe able to experience what I've experienced for a long time. Now thatsense of freedom, relaxation, the the idea that you you know you don't haveto stress about this anymore- you don't have to worry about those emailssitting in her inbox. Don't lie that you don't have to worry about whetheryou're doing a good enough job replying to those emails, because you could belosing salles right now, just because you're not chasing up in an intelligentway. So I encourage you go check out in box DONEC. I really recommend theirservices thanks for listening to theEntrepreneurs Journey Podcast, the original entrepreneur interview podcastestablished in two thousand and five for more episodes had over to j podcastcom. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

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