Vested Capital
Vested Capital

Episode 6 · 4 months ago

(EP6): Greg Smith Founder Of Canadian Tech Unicorn And TSX Listed Thinkific, How To Build SAAS Using MVPs

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

I am resurfacing my interview with Greg Smith, founder of Thinkific.com, a Vancouver based SAAS servicing course creators, because this year (2021) Thinkific did an IPO on the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) raising $160 Million.

As I type this, Thinkific has a market cap of $1.36 billion dollars, making it one of the rare Canadian tech unicorns.

Greg and his brother launched the company initially with a much more hands-on approach (it was more like an agency service to begin with), and then slowly built out a software service.

Today they offer a free and premium version of their platform, earning millions in recurring subscription revenue, employing over 70 full-time employees in Vancouver, all working to help people from around the world to deliver courses online.

It All Started With Marbles…

Greg and I traveled back in time to his first business venture as an 11-year old. He built a marble ‘theme park’ and invited the neighborhood kids to come over and play, and then sold them candy he bulk purchased.

This was the first business project in a long line of entrepreneurial ventures Greg undertook as a young man, right up to the point where he graduated from university and became a lawyer.

While Greg was studying law, he created a blog to share lessons on how to pass the LSAT — the big test students need to pass in order to get into Law school.

He then created his first online course, also on the LSAT. It was very early days for selling courses back then, so Greg couldn’t find any good platforms to help, so he hired a programmer to whip up something basic within a month. That was 13 years ago, and his LSAT course is still selling online today!

Needless to say, the germ of the Thinkific business came from this first experience selling his own online course, but Greg would not begin his tech startup for many years yet. First, he had a career as a lawyer.

Although Greg loved working as a lawyer, he couldn’t fight the urge to build something of his own, and eventually left his job to start a business.

Greg explains how he made the decision to move back in with his parents to save money, and with his computer engineer brother as his partner, started the first version of what would become Thinkific.

Growing A Tech Startup

I was particularly interested to learn how Thinkific grew into the company it is today, so we spent much of the second half of the interview diving deep into the journey of a software startup.

Greg talks about how they initially sold a much more hands-on service, how they decided who to hire first as they grew their team eventually to 70+ people (and still growing!), and why it eventually became clear they needed to build a platform to service their ideal customer.

If you’re interested in starting your own SAAS or subscription-based tech startup, I think you will find a lot of what Greg did with Thinkific during the early days very insightful.

Enjoy the interview,

Yaro

Podcast: https://www.yaro.blog/pod/
Blog: https://www.yaro.blog/

Hey there, this is Yaro and welcome tovested capital episode number six featuring my guest Greg Smith, thefounder and Sego of Tin Gifa. Now I actually did this interview with Greg acouple of years ago on my previous podcast, the Yaro podcast. I'm resurfacing it now because his company think, if it just this year, twothousand and twenty one floated on the TS X, the Toronto Stock Exchange. So itraised a hundred sixty million dollars, Canadian in the IPO, and just as I'm,hitting the record button on this intro a new into for the episode, the companyis valued at one point: Three: six billion dollars, so it's a Unicorn, soI thought it'd be a great time to resurface this interview with thefounder. You can hear about Grigg's background story as well as how thinkif it was first created how the software was developed, how they gottheir first clients and in how they grew, how they hire people a lot ofindustry behind the scenes details about a company that has gone on tobecome one of the few rare Canadian Unicorn. So that's why I'm re surfacingit. I think you'll love it. It's a great story. I had to re, listen to theepisode just to make sure it was still relevant for you, and it was veryinteresting to hear Gregg say towards the end that an I p O is something hehas not yet ruled out. So this was probably recorded, I would say justbefore they began the background process of beginning that IPO, so agreat time to hear the story, and so amazing now to see it as a listedcompany on the torontos stocking chain. So here's the interview today, I have aguest who has built a company in an industry that I really enjoy. As mostof you know, I've been in the sort of information, marketing teachingbusiness and in fact I've made the majority of my online income from someform of online course for about the last ten years or so, and my guest isthe founder of a company. You might know really well because it helps us toset up and sell online courses. So I'd like to introduce you today to GregSmith, the a founder of think, if I hello greg he ro great to be here.Thank you. So you have the easiest name to pronounce, I think of any guest I'veever had on the show. So I appreciate that yeah it's got its pros and cons. Youknow if you, Google, Greg Smith, you usually have to add some sort of modifyor, like think IPEC or a lawyer, or something before you'll only findanything about me right. So I guess it's good for anonymity, but not sogood for building any kind of Internet brand. You have the opposite of my name.I have I've owned Aro since the beginning on Google, my cause besidesmy father, there's not a lot of Yara out there. So right, yes, which iswhich is actually quite helpful, but yes, my condolences for all thegregsons out there. You guys are just everywhere now for those who don't know, I thinkif it is a Vancouver based company, I know you guys have been growing likecrazy. I've been to your offices here. Do you want to to give us a quicksummary of you know what you do and and how big the company is at the momentsure. So we started well actually now about six years ago, and we are aplatform that makes it super easy for people to create, launch deliver celland market their own online courses or membership sites or online learningprograms with full branding and control, put into your hand. So really whatwe're going for is. If you went out and hired your own developer or team ofdevelopers today to build out your own custom solution for delivering your ownonline content and education, that we'd be able to give you a much betterresult than if you went out, and did it all yourself and obviously at a muchreduced cost, and so we've been around about six years serve tens of thousands,of course, creators and millions of students, and our team nowin Vancouver, is about seventy people and hiring so for people who arelooking for especially digital marketing and product management, Jobs.We're always looking for awesome people and have a pretty amazing culture andhaving a lot of fun doing it. I was joking with Greg before we pit therecord button, how they have these...

...think of a cities. I actually have oneas well, and I swear every time I hang out with someone who works at think youfic or even used to or think if it they have the Odeon. So it's a greatpromotional tool. I wear it. I've had, I think it's one of the best boodiesI've got so you were waking up with that. Did a great job, awesome, yeahthey're from an tecomo table yeah- and you also have a previous guest of MineLewis House- is one of your. I think customers rides he's used you guys fora number of years, O yeah lewith uses s and Tod Herman now and a bunch of othercourse. Creators who are are doing great things with the platform. Okay.So when I was sort of introduced to Greg, what's nottrue, I met Greg first in San Diego because they host some amazing dinnersthere when some conferences are on. But when I first spoke to one of Thin GiviEmployees Tyler, you might know him hello, Tyler. He mentioned that Greghas a really unique entreprend background. That goes back quite far,so greg I'd, love to go back in time and sort of explore what led up tothink of Vic- and you mentioned that you may have had. I don't know if it'sa lemonade, stand or baseball cards, he was selling what was the ChildhoodEntrepreneurial Project? Oh the childhood one yeah! Well, I do have anobsession now where my wife bugs me about it sometimes is I can't drivepast a kids lemonade stand without going and contributing her buying fromthe stand to support the business, and even if that means sometimes driving toa bank machine and then driving back. So it's it's. Actually I try and carrya little bit of cash because you I'm so driven on plastic now everything's oncredit card these days. But if I can, I try and carry cash everywhere, just incase I come across a lemonades dance, so especially coming into summer, but Ididn't actually do a lemonade dance. When I was a kid I had, we had thiscrazy experiment when I was about twelve, where we, I think we built thisthing called snowbird mountain and it was a big hill in my friend sort ofback yard and hidden in the trees, and we built all of these courses foressentially marbles to go down and go over ramps and through tunnels andaround corners, and there was sort of like a race track for marble racing andthen we'd invite all the neighborhood kids over. There were a little youngerthan us to come and like race marbles and think there might have even beensome betting. But but gambling was not our business model. We we sold candy,so we'd go to COSCO and pick up massive bulk things of candy and then sell. Youknow five and ten cent candies and recover our cost and make a profit thatway, and it was actually you know for a twelve year old, a pretty lucrativelittle business and it was a lot of fun genius. I love marvels, that's a seeyou made your own theme park. Basically, yeah was that in Vancouver it was yes,nice, okay, so that kick started your fund for the next company is a rightHyeah. I think we probably spent most of that money on our own candy or otherthings, but you wait a profit, a yeah, that's surprising. So what what wasnext in the in the entrepreneur? Well lots of little steps along the way Ihad a company that did when I was going through university. We did ECO tourism,we called it for SL school, so Vancouver at the time, and it's stillhuge here, but I think downtown alone. There was sixty or seventy languageschools for people coming to Vancouver, to learn, English and and work orparticipate in sort of coop programs or even just stay in home stays. So wewould work with some of those schools doing their kind of adventure andoutdoor program, so it's kind of fun. I would go white water, rafting and snowboarding and going all love these trips with people from all over the world andget paid to do it, so that was a fun next step in the entrepreneurialjourney. Nice did you come across that, despite chance or like? Is thatsomething a lot of people do in Vancouver? One of my good friends androommate at the time was from Korea, and so I think he'd come through one ofthose schools and saw it as an opportunity, and so that kind of kickstarted that thing and then we did. We did a bunch of other just him, and Iand a few other people through university did a bunch of things to payfor pay. Our tuitions had a custom clothing company, a few other littlebusinesses going through and then even...

...coming out of school. The firstbusiness I went into this was a job so actually straight out of businessschool. I did get a job as a sales person for a software company, but itwas a six person company and I was pretty much the only person doing salesthere. So I had it was kind of like we just built this product go, find UScustomers. So it's a lot of leeway working for a small start up, whichgave me kind of the early experience of doing small start up software scales,which was a lot of fun. So when you were in university, did you have theplan of being an entrepreneur as your kind of life plan for income or youthinking career job and even what we, your parents in terms of their adviceor or as role models? What were they guiding you towards? Well, my dad's,the doctor, my mom's, a nurse and they're, very education driven, so Ithink for them it was they're very supportive of me now and always havebeen, but I think education and career you know, you're more typical, go toschool. Get a job kind of thing was much more of their focus and what theywere excited about, and so you know going back to when I was in school. Iwent through business school and then came out work for a while, and then Iwent back to law school. So I really, I always had these entrepreneur pursuits,but I don't think I ever really looked at it as something I was going tocommit to until I started practicing a law. But that being said, I mean meaneven my dad being a doctor. I think he was sort of similar in that respectthat he had the career in the education, but in the garage there was always somecrazy entrepreneur, pursuit from like a worm, farm or crazy flying machine or kids toilet that trains them all sortsof crazy ideas there that, I think really inspired me on theentrepreneurial journey, sounds to me, like your father's projects were moreside inventor type projects. He wasn't ex about to quit being a doctor and gosell how to train your kids to use the toilet sort of thing right. But youjust said before, as a lawyer was the first time you started thinking aboutentrepreneurship, a you hear that being correctly like you didn't like law, soyou thought about entrepreneur, sure or what was the conection yeah. So I gotinto practicing law and I think the reason I went in I did so corporatesecurities lot. So I had a lot of like big corporate clients and in the threeyears I practiced law. I got to see more corporate transactions than you doas a CEO, probably in a lifetime. I went in for the ability to go and seeall of these really exciting moments in corporate lives and I actually lovedthe practice a lot of of the people. I work with the lawyers, the firms I workwith the clients. It was amazing and I got such amazing exposure because theywould parachute me into a business when it was going through a crisis orraising you know two hundred million dollars or buying another company. So Igot to see all of these really exciting times and advise the CEO or the boardof directors through that whole process, and I would do a new one of these everymonth or so so it was. It was a amazing learning curve and I was loving thatbut then actually, I think there was a moment there, where I read the book thealchemist and it was for those of you read it. It kind of walks you throughthis concept of sort of finding your place in life and what you reallyshould be doing and what you're going to be super happy at, and I remember,reading it and setting a deadline of you know, I'm going to give myselfanother year year and a half. I think I put an actual date in my notebook andsaid, I'm going to give myself a deadline and then I'm going to jump andgo, do something entrepreneur and start something and maybe I'll come back tolaw. But I really wanted to give it a shot and you know cut away the goldenhandcuffs and go for it. Give up the salary cut away. The pay check and gofor the entrepreneur pursed and see what could happen there. So when youstart having those kind of thoughts and you're talking about doing things likecutting the salary, how did you plan for that transition and also, at thatpoint, were you just like a single guy, because, obviously a lot of people? Youknow they start to have lifes and children and our husbands, whatevermaybe that creates, I guess more pressure to not quit a job and the riskseems higher to start a business. So how are you planning for thattransition to become an entrepreneur yeah? I didn't. I didn't do a great jobof planning. I probably could have saved a bit more. The one thing I didwhen I did quit as I just went and...

...lived with my parents for a few months-maybe even six months so probably could have done a betterjob of planning, but I really just kind of took the leap of faith and jumpedand I was single at that time. I'm married now with two kids, but evenwhen I met my wife years later, we wait. It was sort of a constant learningcurve of how broke I actually was because when we first met it was sortof you know. She'd asked me to go up to whistler and go skiing and you knowstaying a lodge and I was like I can't come and fro a while. It was kind of apoint of contention where we actually broke up over it for a little while,where she thought that I wasn't interested, because I wasn't willing togo and spend money on these activities and I had to explain no com, anentrepreneur and I'm still broke at this point. Now it's different andbetter now, but even when we went for our first mortgage, she got to look atall with my prior tax returns and she's like wow, you really had a period therewhere you made nothing, I well. How did you keep her attention, then? Becausethat could be a high criteria and some and some women want the guy to havesome some money. You know yeah. Well, I guess you just have to be good in otherways. So I'm a pretty nice guy and care. A lot about her, so I think she wasable to see see past my impecuniosity and and to the future, and the otherthing is to is, I think, there's a difference between being broke with nogoals, plans, ambitions or not. You know not working as different. Itwasn't like. I was playing video games all day. I was working sixteen hourdays. I was just spending everything I made on employees and growing thebusiness. So what was the project you left the law career, for? I was thefirst one. So first one actually was a couple of buddies of mine from law.School were starting a company and putting touch screens inside taxi cabs,and so we would pay the cab companies- and we did this in you know acrossCamin Canada and we pay the cab companies put these touch screens inthem and then we'd sell advertising on them, but also well. I was in law,school and even prior to that I was building my own online course and soeven years prior to this even way before I went into lot well, first yearlaw school, I built an online course, and that was really what really drovemy ability to kind of take. That leap of faith and jump into entrepreneurialpursuits is because I was starting to generate some revenue from that course.Now didn't translate to a lot of disposable income for me, because I wasfunneling it back into the next business pursuit which in the end wasthink of it, but that did help definitely and in doing that was thatearly online course that I created okay, a couple o questions so yea. What yearwas the online course that that first one you made? I think it was oh five,two thousand and five that I launched that first one well, because that wasreally early days, because I didn't launch a course until seven- and youknow there were not thinking fix at that time. Back in two thousand andfive I know I know it might have even been two thousand three, because I wasdefinitely teaching the Alse in two thousand and three and that's when Istarted law school, so it might have been as early as then but yeah. Iremember we, my brother and I looked everywhere for a solution and in theend I was lucky. My sutete is a software developer Matt and he he justbuilt the solution for us. So we gave ourselves a thirty day deadline and wesaid thirty days we're going to build this soft ware. It was pretty crappysoftware, we're going to build the software and build the course and getit out there and see. If anyone even cares about this thing- and it did afew people cared, ten people bought the course in the first week of long orfirst month launch, I think, and then they continued to grow from there. Whatwas the course on the AL at law, school admissions test, so I was helping.People write the test to get them into law school and it's a super supercompetitive space. At the time, not so much in the online course world,because online courses were still somewhat earlier days, then, butextremely competitive space and test prep, but tons of opportunity there,because people really do need to get that education yeah. I remember I usedto. I had an essay editing company back around that time, two thousand a dthree two thousand and four, I remember putting up posters in Toronto and therewas so many posters from other people for El sat and L cap. I think that wasthe other one that might have been a medical on as well am Kim Cat yeah yeah.We don't have that. I grew up in Australia and and there there isn't. Ithink, the equivalent of that. So I...

...never was quite clear on what that wasfor a while, but man they were a lot of posters about those two things so itclearly, it's a big need. Definitely Great Market Yeah. I think my firsthigher ever- and this was like a total part time thing that didn't even last.That long was, I hired a guy, a UB C, who rode around on a skate board,putting up posters for me because I just got fed up with putting up posterseverywhere. I also tried to outsource the putting up a post because it washard to find people o reliable. They never quite did it the same dedications.I did, I think, as a yeah yeah or I would get messages from the universitysaying that they've been too dedicated, yeah posting it all over in placeswhere it shouldn't be yeah. I've had that problem a couple times to youtrigger a few things that I want to talk about. First lits closed the dooron this course. So you said you got ten customers. How did you get tencustomers, so it all started. I was teaching a class in person, and thatwas going so so, but it was pretty difficult to get people into the classbecause there's a limited number of people who take the all set every year,and so you know then you're also limited by who happens to be in yourcity, who happens to be local enough to go to wherever you're, offering theclass and who happens to care about it on this particular weekend. So Istarted and then everyone I was talking to wanted private tutoring. They wantedto have a conversation. They wanted had all this extra help and I was finding alot of my conversations were the same. So I created a little blog of just freeresources and I would drive people there and I'd say: Hey. You know youwant some private tutoring start on the blog read a couple: articles, you'llthat'll, save you the first three hours of tutoring. I was going to give youanyway and and then we can sit down, so they do that and then more and morepeople, even outside of Vancouver and all over the world started. Reading theblog- and it wasn't wasn't anything amazing- I was still excited when Iwent to Gool analytics and saw that ten people went on the blog that day, butthat was enough to launch the course- and I put the course out there andpeople so really it was just the traffic from organic search of peoplecoming to the blog and then seeing that I had a course that they can take, forI think of the first launch was twenty nine dolars, so those first ten peopleand you know netted less than three hundred bucks out of it, but still itwas a sign that there was something here. Will you were really a pioneerthat's early days to go through that process? I can imagine just the factthat you had a website or blog with that content would have guaranteedGoogle source traffic. It would have been the early days for Google too. IfI'm, I think, back to the end. They we've just got started. I think yeah, Idon't. When did they? I don't know I remember when they were getting started,t the was definitely earlier than that, but it was certainly a lot easier thanto get ranked for sure and then I immediately went you know branched outto you tube and started putting content on you tube and that did exceptionallywell and then you know I had a point where a yout and the blog were drivingten thousand a month in sales, just organically, which is Great, oh well.Okay, well, I'd love to break down a little bit more of that, and because Ican see how it leads to thank your fink, obviously to but before I do. That isone thing I wanted to ask you about which I think we might have possiblyzoon past. I think I read about it about you somewhere, but we you part ofthe it's like you run your own painting business here in Canada. Have you donethat? I did work for alumni painters, and that was so that was, it wasn'treally quite like one of the student ones where you run it yourself, itwasn't as entrepreneur. I just got a job as a painter and then levelled upto like leading a crew, but it was still still very much a job where youknow I had the boss, who kind of owned and round the whole thing. He did theestimates and got the customers, and I showed up and just painted right. Ikeep meeting people here in Canada to my friends with Toronto, J, Wong andKirstin Ross. Both did that. I think tyler also might have had something todo with that. You know where something is like now: It seems to be like atraining ground for Canadian entrepreneurs. Everyone sort of startsthere. So I thought, maybe you were part of that- that crew as well, so Ifeel like I may be before your lawyer, career or maybe even at the same timeyou had a lot of little short term. Maybe jobs like the painting project,but also entrepreneur projects, I'm guessing. It must have always been like aconflict with you working. What would very much be Consideredi a career withlaw? That's you know. You don't study...

...that much to then give it up. Usually asome people do, but then, at the same time you seem to always be doingsomething when it was. You know from the marbles right the early days, andthen you know every like running your own course I can see. I guess this thecourse has an overlap with what you did as a lawyer, but most lawyers don't goout there and decide to. You know, hire a program which to create a course,especially in the early two sand, so at the time you're doing that. What wasyour motivation? I'm assuming you earned enough money as a lawyer. Sowhat was this tribe? Because you just said you made like three hundreddollars on the first ten customers. So it's not exactly that's like one hourof lawyer time right. So the course I launched actuallylaunched around first second year law school, I think, and so at the time youknow I paying law school tuition and during the school year didn't have ajob. I would work summers to out pay tuition, but so at the time I didn'thave a lot so launching the course was great, but also really. I mean, I guessthe the money was nice and it was great when it was really successful, but itwas also really the impati behind it. For me, in the early course days wasvery much that I was able to help other people, and people got to know that Icould help people get a higher Alat score, and so they would reach out- andI was actually running out of time, because I was spending so much timestudying for law that I wanted to create more of an automated on demand,scalable way to reach people and people not just because I was starting to getpeople even reaching out from other cities, and this gave me a tool where Icould say look I can scale and I can help lots of people and reach lots ofpeople and even generate some revenue, which makes it that much more scalableby putting together an online course and then, when I actually got into abig law firms and started practicing there, I pretty much stopped allentrepreneurial work. I really had no time to do this. The side projects verymuch. I did a like, I think, my brother and I, for a little while we triedcalling it Mondays at nine and Monday at nine pm we'd like work on this onthe course a little bit, because that was sort of. Hopefully I was home bynine. If I wasn't on a busy project so so yeah, I didn't spend a lot oftime working on the onfrennelness when I was actually practicing law- and Ithink that was part of the reason of the jump and leaving laws that I kindof missed it and wanted to get that opportunity. But the original coursecame when I was in law school when I was still quite broken, paying a lawschool tuition. What happened to the course then did it sort of fizzle outafter you came a lawyer. No, so the awesome thing about courses,especially you, create them on demand on something like thin gifa is. I stopped work on that course pretty muchentirely. I haven't produced a Yutu video or a blog post or anything inover. I think six years now and it still cranks out revenue every singlemonth and it's all organic. We really don't do any ads. It's just organicsearch. You Tube drives that there might be a tiny bit of re targeting,but I think it's I think, we've even turned all that off. So it's amazing.It's been on auto pilot now for over six years and still generating reallynice revenues, and when did you first launch it? How long ago, thirteen years,I think that that's a good run. Yeah talk about an ever green topic. Yeah nokidding it doesn't like you, don't need to update it like this feel set.Doesn't change laws? Don't change, I guess not right. It did the also didupdate over six. The last time it updated. I think, was more than sixyears ago, but it was a minor update. I did a quick fix to it, but that wasmore than six years ago and I haven't seen update since then. So the Nice,I'm always a little terrified that if they completely revamp the outset, Ijust because right now I'm so focus is seventy. A team of seventy here I think,if IC and my focus now is on helping our clients create their own courses.So if they reeve have the all set, then I guess that business model goes bye.Bye should probably sell that business, but let's, let's not go down thattunnel right now. I've had a few offers for it, but I'm really it's fixed it. Asentimental attachment Abe and I know the potential for it. You know I thinkit's doing about one tenth. I think if I could find someone who understoodmarketing reasonably well and put them on that project, it could probablytenax the revenues in a pretty short period of time. Okay, so any any peoplewho are in the law field education field, if you want to part with Gra getin touch, we put the call out there...

...actually understand marketing onlineright, fantastic as yeah. That's it does sound like a about thirteen yearsof evergreen that sales- that's incredible, but not maybe not thirteenyears of every green sales, but thirteen years of sales and six yearsof ever green sales. It's like that's the dream right. I didn't realize thatyou personally were such an example of selling online course. So it's great tosee I'm guessing. That was kind of like the doorway to starting think you thick,but before we jump into that, you said your first business after quittingbeing a lawyer was actually putting in tvas and taxis. Is that what you saidbefore yeah yeah, so we to replace the head rest with essentially like an Ipat inside a head rest and then sell ads on it? There'll be entertainingcontent and then we'd sell ads to big ADVIS. Did you get rich in a Er to getexit? No that one didn't go so well for I I hada lot of fun doing it, but I think a couple of things is one of the biggerones, just being that my passions always been really in like hhelpingpeople and education and helping teach people, and even you know with think ifIC, the big thing I get to do is help people build businesses and buildeducation and help them help their students and get their message andtheir passion out. I was really missing that I had that in locks. I could helpmy clients build their business and get their message out, and you know- andnow I have it at think of it- where anyone who wants who has an ex area ofexpertise or a passion they want to share. I can help them do that throughthin, if IC, but in selling ads. There was something missing for me there thatdidn't resonate with what I wanted to be doing. So how long did you go beforeyou left that project? I think that was only about a year a year and a halfokay, what happened next, then it was straight into think CIFIC. We spentlike a month revamping the Alsace, which is Alpha score. Is The AL setcourse yeah? I then don't to think there's the website address before you.Can? U, for the L set business, so we can check this out it. It's ELPASO, a l,P H A so like the spelling of the Greek letter Alpha score like hockey, Scorcaand it's again hasn't been. You might see a blog post on there like one ortwo within the last six years that someone just sent me and then I justreposted it on the site, but it really hasn't. We haven't done anything to itin quite a while other than make sure it's all set up on think if it wasgoing to say to every one. I think, of course, actually runs on the Kiti nowyou're, still not using that first version of the flap no yeah. That firstversion was pretty painful. Okay, so yeah with the Germination of the thinkof the idea. Were you like? How did that come about what we thinking? Whatwas the need that you see in the market, and why did you think you were a personto potentially solve it? Well, so we had the outset course out and what Ifound was people kept reaching out to me saying: Hey, I want to do the samething and they weren't quite asking for what we did with think of it. I cangive it is that self surf platform. You know put your content in pick from acouple of themes to make everything look beautiful, launch your course allthe commerce everything's built in what people were calling me for a way backthen was you know, can you things like? Can you shoot my videos? Can you helpme launch my course? Can you launch it for me and sell it for me and then justI'll take up a royalty, or how did you do what you did, but it was all reallyaround the core message I was getting these inbound calls from was. I sawwhat you did with your Alsace and Elfigo. How can I do the same with my gmat course or my sat course or my kitbag course or my you know filmmaking course you know I'm teaching off line right now, but I want to take itonline and I can't find a good solution. You know, can you just take my contentand turn it into a course and sell it for me, and so that was really. It wasconstantly hearing that message from people and we tried to work a bunch ofdeals where we'd get much more involved and we'd. You know film it and sell itand do all of the work for people, and I found that the best way we couldserve them was actually just to build a self served tool, because what wereally wanted to do was give people the same business ownership and success andcontrol that we had with our own course, which is saying you know you get yourown site, your own brand, your own course all the revenues- yours you justgo, set it up and and you're ready to go at what fun in this journey did yournow wife enter the picture? I just wanted to make sure I, because you saidyou met and you were very much a...

...hustling entrepreneur. Was it the startof think ifi O was it earlier? No, I was a. It was early days, think of ICSearly days. Think if I I was still at the point where I wasn't, we hademployees, but I wasn't yet paying myself a salary. Okay, all right soI'll show into the picture shortly. So, okay, so it sounds like like a lot ofpeople when you get this demand coming at you often the first way to thinkabout servicing. It is actually to offer a service right like we'll. Dothe videos will build your website and then do a re hen you share kind of likethe agency model. I guess right so it sounds like you tried that and realizedthat it wasn't your future direction. The thing is, you decide, then I'massuming to build another platform right and and I'm guessing you wereplanning to replace what you were running your own cours on with that newplatform. What did you learn from? You know hiring that programmer back in thevery early days with that first course you know thirty, you said you hadthirty days build the platform. Now, when you're about to create thin, I ficone point zero. How did you go about doing that? Do you hire someone fulltime to? Did you get venture funding e? How to think of like start well, so thefirst programmer is actually my brother. So that the first guy I worked with,was my brother Mat and then so we did the same thing again years later, whenwe wanted to take the idea of thinking if it can make it available to.Everyone is cheated the code, and I did this sort of sales and marketing andwell he actually do out of the marketing to. But we just worked together. We didn't,I think we got a little bit of money from my dad borrowed a bit from mygrandma, but just enough to kind of keep things going in that first year,and then we really turned to customers for revenue and that's where in thatfirst year we didn't have this sort of full on self served platform wherethousands of people can come and set up their own courses. So we did have to doa lot of the manual work for people, but that was great because it alsoforced us to charge a lot more, especially in those early days. So we'dgo to people, and you know now you can use think of it- can get set up andstarted to launch a course for free back then we'd, often as someone forten or fifteen thousand dollars right out of the gate just to set somethingup for them. There was some client revenue pretty early on, but it wasvery sporadic and non scalable and I think that's what we realized is. I waspretty good at doing the sales thing, but I could sell someone on ten orfifteen or twenty five sen dollars to do a project for them. But then we hadto start all over again the next month of the next quarter, and so we reallywanted to move into more of a scalable recurring revenue model where peoplejust pay a subscription fee to use the service and then itself served, andthat allowed us to serve way more people with a much more scalable modelfor us where the think Ifi name come from that one. We've looked at changingit a few times, but I do like it originally. My brother came up withthink mashed with terrific and I think that was what it was and then com wasavailable now we're sort of looking at think. If I could is a really nice sortof branding message associated with think if it could think if I couldlaunch my own course or think if I could teach the world or think if Icould, you share my passion with others and I think that lines up a little bitbetter. We think if it can help people remember how to spell it to right.That's a better kind of friend message, but I do like thinking and terrificSilarius. Okay, I can imagine you guys sitting at a table, brainstorming ideasand then all right, let's go with this one. Okay, so you've you and yourbrother, you're kind of doing custom be spoke, high priced products and thenyou're going. What service is really then you're thinking? Okay, we need toget this more less hands on work. More recurring were evenue. We need aplatform at this point is still just you and your brother, or is your teamexpanded like how did it grow yeah we hired. We did hire a designer prettyearly, because I think we recognized that my brother is decent at design,but we needed that. That was the first piece of help that we needed and andthe interesting thing was the whole time we were doing these bespoke orcustom solutions. We were building the platform, so we knew right out of thegate. What we wanted to do, we kind of had a few deviations and false falsepositives, along the way where we got pulled in other directions, but rightout of the gate. We were building the platform, so I was interesting even thecode. We are writing from day. One was you know in use years later, when wereally hit on the right business model...

...and everything clicked and startedworking together, but those first three years were pretty rough and a lot of alot of false positives and fall starts. And can you now be getting what weexplain when you mean by like a false positive like what's an example yeah,so false positive for me, is if you're, maybe you're good at sales or you havea relationship or you really push hard on something, and then you get a littlebit of success or a little bit of revenue, but there's not a lot to kindof follow on from that. So one thing we had is we had some early successworking with professional designation organization, so these are like not forprofits that work with say lawyers or HR managers or accountants, and so wehad a few of those early on who were really willing to work with us and hadbudget, and so we thought. Okay with this could be a great you know, nichewithin the market. If you think crossing the chasm and like goingreally after this specific vertical, this will be a great place to start,and so that was kind of a false positive, because what we learned oncewe started investing a lot of effort in that industry was that in the not forprofits in this professional, the professional associations is, they werereally excited about the project and they shake hands and say yeah we'regoing to do this, but it would be twelve to twenty four months and fourboard meetings or eight board meetings later before anything would happen. Soit was just way too slow the sales cycle and not a big enough return on itto make it worth while. So that was one of the kind of false positives we hadthat it seemed like a good thing and then, as we went down that pathrealized, we should probably get back to our real vision here of making thatself serf platform for anyone to go launch their course. So with thesepulse positives, it sounds like I don't know how you're doing it but we'reclients just kind of showing up like you know. The someone sees a coursethat you've built for someone and then they direct you like a referral like,was that where all the marketing was happening over you, as you said, youwere the sales and marketing guy. Were you literally sitting on the phone allday trying to draw up a clients during those early days a bit about? So I,like, I think in that particular space. There was a referral that came in andthat worked well, and then I got on the phone for two months and just calledeveryone in the book that I could find and that's where we learned that maybeit was a false positive, because we got a lot of really positive initialfeedback, but not a lot of things closing in any reasonable period oftime. Right, because how did you think about your target market? I can imagineyou know, there's so many potential avenues for selling digital informationtoday, and certainly more so, maybe when you started, because people justdidn't have the general awareness that this is something you can do certainlynot easily right. So you'd have had everything from the hobbyist tocorporate. You know, B, Tob type platform options right. So how did youdecide even making the phone call like today, I'm going to phone nothing butreal estate companies and see if they want to do a course like? How did youdecide that what early days we were really kind of going for this? Like youknow, I think our ideal avator urban days with sort of the somewhatcelebrity expert. So ideally they had content. Now it might not be onlinecontent, but they were teaching people. It could be a textbook. It could be alive class that they did and then they had some sort of celebrity and thatthey were known at least in their industry. As a key expert in that andthe idea there, though, was that we were going to partner with them and doa lot of the work for them and what we saw over chasing that Avatar is that,yes, we could do it at a very non scalable level, but we actually couldgenerate much better results for ourselves and for clients if we builtmore of the self served platform and just gave them all the tools to do alot of it themselves with the training to go out and do it, and so what wefind now is that if someone has the expertise, they can go out and generatethe audience stuff if they have an audience all the better. But there'senough understanding of and opportunity and ability now out there that if youhave some expertise or some passion, you can actually get out, there startgenerating your own audience and the end result will be that much better foryou, because then you kind of own the entire platform, your own brand. So,like I see someone like, we have one client out of Austral, actually Danlove who does who hoop training and I think she actually started- shootingvideo with an ephone in a park of her who hooping and put online and built anonline course showing people how to do...

...really cool hoop tricks and for youknow, fitness and dance and fun and and now she's got a whole team. She travelsthe world or whole site and brand and product looks amazing and she's, reallyjust through creating content, been able to get out there and build thismassive audience and really successful business around her Ho looping hobby.For the love of looks, that's that's awesome. You need someone doing Yoosand let's another old school I'll, be tell me a bit more about at the point.We said: okay, let's build a do it yourself, hosting an online courseplatform that point where you really realize that's the direction you wantto take the company and maybe not a false positive, that positive positive.Did you just tell your brother go build it or how did that begin? It's probably more, like he told me, Ithink we had that idea right out of the gate. That was what we discussed sixyears ago day. One kind of opening things up and said we really want tohave this sort of multi tenant hid, as in like lots of different people, cancreate their own site, but it's white labeled. They can make it look how theywant. They can build their course, how they want, give them total control andthat's actually what we wanted out of the gate, and my brother looked at meand said yeah. I can't build that on my own in you know any reasonable periodof time to sort of generate revenue. So that's where we started building it,but then used what we were building to do. Some of these more custom solution,so we'd have the basis of a platform that we were building and while we werecreating that we'd go and do these custom solutions, and then it wasn'tuntil two or three e we kind of got distracted and we could have done it alot faster, but we got distracted with some of these false positives and thentwo or three years later we came full circle back and I was actually mybrother who came be one day and said I think actually what he said is. I thinkwe should be Shoppie for online courses and shop. Fie was really exploding atthis point and he said you know. I think we should basically be Shoppiefor online courses and that's when we kind of went full board into into thatBoutan another Canadian company. So right, yeah, interesting the way yousort of explain almost like a formula for bootstrap ing, a software companybecause yeah you have this fison and I have actually been there. I had asoftware start up in two thousand and twelve, and just like your brother said,we just culdn't build what we needed to make money in any short period of timeand you kind of found a really great sort of stop gap solution where webuild it, but we do more of the work hands on so we can get a higher value.Client. The danger, like you said, was seeing that is potentially yourbusiness model, where, ultimately, you need to kind of pull it back and go no.No. This is a cash flow source to get to the point where we can actuallyrelease the full band platform that we want. So how long did it take for thatfirst version of think of it to be created, and was it just your brotherstill building over a long period of time or did eventually have help? So wede Yeah, we tired other developers and actually, I think, one of the firstguys we hired it was another Mat, my brother's Matt and we had another Mat,Mat, pain and he's now our CT. So we did a pretty good job of some of thoseearly hires and one of the earlier ones as well. Our director of marketing isnow our COO Miranda Levers, and so their co founders now as well, and theyhim really early days and we're just I'd love to say that I knew what I wasdoing hiring them, but I think we just got super lucky with some of the earlypeople who joined our team, which made it amazing. So how long did thatplatform take to build? Well, I mean we've been building it for six yearsand it's all the same code base. I mean they cut away a bunch of chunks of it.So obviously each year grows exponentially on top of the prior year,because I think our product team is twenty. Five well were seventy peopleon the whole team, but our product team is over twenty five people now so well,when was that we dole? I me like at what point: Did you actually go to thepublic and say we have a Platt the do it yourself platform, Oh yeah. Well,that was even that. Wasn't a defining moment I mean we had so we went througha whole period where we had a platform, but only re. We could really build andmanage within it. So we didn't have the user experience that was open enough tolike. Have everyone just sign up and build their own stuff so early what wewere doing when we hit platform stage where we're like you could have yourown site and brandittoes the course we were still doing the work inside of it.So we would actually email people call people up pop on a Scipe chat with them,get them to drop box us their content.

Then we would up load it to our system,build out a site for them, send it back to them and then we'd hop on anotherscape call to walk through it with them and ask them for their credit card tostart charging charging them out. So that went on for Jes, almost six monthslike that, and then we launched the ability for people to sign up on theirown bulk up load, all of their content on their own, build out their courseand pay us of course, and that was a really nice day when we kind of putthat out there. So even that took a while, it was a very sort of stagedapproach and obviously, looking back, we probably could have shaved years offthis whole process. If we knew exactly where we were going and what it wouldtake to get there. But we didn't, we learn a lot on the way which leads to aquestion. What would you do differently only in that early stage? Now, withhindsight, if you were advising someone else, who's supposed to fall in yourfootsteps, I think figuring out really early on a few key things and peopletalk about product market fit and that's to me you know the definition ofthat is when your customers are pulling you in a direction and it becomeseasier to make decisions about what you're creating you're, not strugglingby calling people up and saying. Please tell me, you know what you want. I meanyou should be having those conversations, but it really hits youwhen it's like this unstoppable force. That's pulling you in a direction. Youyou basically just get to start doing what people are looking for. Now. Youstill need to think about the future and have your own vision, but buthaving that piece is huge. But then I think people talk about that being thisearly thing that you need to get right and I think you know in advisingsomeone early on, we could have gotten that right way sooner, if we've beenbetter at talking to and listening to customers, but then I think the otherpieces. You need to fit that in with the channel that you're going to use toreach them. So the marketing piece- and I think another big thing we could havedone early on- is that we didn't really know how we were going to acquirecustomers in the end or what we were going to create exactly for them. So Ididn't worry too much about building an audience and a marketing channel, and Ithink people do this a lot better now, but I would have started right out ofthe gate, writing about and making videos about and generating contentgenerally in our because in our industry, because we knew we're goingto do something in education and creating courses. So if I'd beenbuilding that base way back, then we would have had a way bigger sort offollowing an audience when we actually figured out what our product market fitwas yeah, so that those two things would have been things we could havedone a lot faster really are, I guess, if you don't have a clear direction onwho you're servicing more of an you know what your product is, but who doyou want to help, and how do you want to help them and, like you, I thinkthis is one of the real challenges with the software company. I know I felt itis that you have in your head this idea of what it is supposed to do right andyou must have felt that way for a long time, given how how many stages youwent through, you must be thinking. Oh, why can't we just have an up loadbutton to load this content rather than them sending us a drop box fall right.Yeah. You have to go through that stage development process. Unless you, Iguess, get some crazy amount of venture funding and hire ten developers out thegay which is not usually likely right. So that's the real challenge. I thinkfor any software company to get that part right, and I think, even if youfeel like you had those false positives, it sounds like you did, have a fairlyeffective staggered growth mechanism, moving from almost like a consultantservice company to a full blown software company and and justrebalancing that over time and that that's not necessarily a bad way togrow. A software company, I would say, suggest even today, right, yeah,definitely and and even the building features you know, even if we, if wehad funding right out of the gate, which is pretty tough to get fundingjust based on an idea, and you don't even have your model in place, but itcan happen and we did get funding later. But even after having significantrevenues, and even today, where we have lots of software developers, we stilldo some of these things. Where you do things in more of a manual way untilyou realize that it's actually or more of an VP way like a minimum, valuableproduct, and so with that uploading it was, we probably could have spent acouple of weeks just building it right...

...out of the gate, but it was moreefficient for us to validate that people really did want us to up loadthe videos and this model was going to work, and then they were going to getback to us and give us their credit card before we went and built it,because that if we just gone out of the gate, even with ten debs and startedbuilding that stuff, it would have still delayed things by you know a fewmore weeks, just for that feature and a few more weeks for the next feature,but by doing it for them it, let us create a whole course site for them ina matter of a day, rather than saying, okay, we're going to go build. Allthose features will be back to you in two months right now. That's a reallygreat point. You NV each feature. That's manually, do it first and thenprove that you need to develop, but, like it's very smart, a couple ofthings you mentioned your hiring process early on and even today, I'mkind of curious as you grow a company now, which is you, know, well and trulybecoming a big company now in Vancouver here. Do you especially early on? Areyou you know, acquiring or requiring attracting people as Promoting Yourself?As a you know, like a young tech start up who's offering Maybei, you know alittle bit of shares in the company from the early hires. How did you thinkabout that part of the growth of your company and even today, how do youthink about it earlier? The first sort of I think the first sort of twentytwenty five thirty people. It was very sort of non scalable growth acky. Wetalk on link, Din and Angel t list and go to you know, meet ups and post jobson Craig's list and meet people that way crossing that threshold of aboutthirty people. We actually had tea and then Amanda and Miranda actually cooner.Mind took on a lot of this responsibility of doing the heavylifting of hiring and they got us up to getting thousands of applicants everymonth. They were doing a lot of promotion and going out there, and thenwe implemented actually top grading as a hiring process. So there's a goodbook called who, by Gh smart that walks you through this, then you can actuallytake courses on it to get better at it, which we all did, and that was a realturning point in terms of our ability to hire amazing people, both in termsof identifying people through a hiring process. Where my gut told me it wasprobably going to be a good idea, but the hiring process said run the otherdirection and then vice versa, where your guts telling you it's a bad ideaor you're, not really or the person, isn't very good at selling themselvesin the interview process, but by digging in using this methodology, wecan actually identify some of the sort of I guess diamonds in the rough andit's really skyrocket or kind of retention and employee engagement andoverall quality of hiring process. I'm curious in the first sort of thirtypeople. How do you decide who to hire first? Like is it a case? All weprogrammers now all we need customer service now like. How do you use itjust reactionary or is there is there more of a plan to it? I'd say it waspretty pretty reactionary, very much like what is the single biggestlimiting factor in the company right now and then can we even afford to fixthat problem so early days it was. You know I had the the business side, mybrother had he the back end code side, but we were always limited by friendand development. So those were some of that was some. You know early ier. Thenit was. We need to do better on the marketing and digital marketing side,as opposed to just greg doing this non scalable hop on the phone and emailstuff and then, of course, more on the software development side pretty early,but it was very much a needs driven. What's the single limiting factor inthe company and to be honest, to some extent I mean we do we obviously plan alot more now and so for some of the problems six months or a year out byhiring now, but even in looking, but the hiring plan now part of it iswhat's the single biggest limiting factor in this area of our company.That will help us determine what we need to hire for right theory ofconstraints still in action, a yeah. What do you find in terms of incentives?I mean, or maybe it's changed? Did you offer like some sort of ownership ofthe company? Do you still like, or are people motivated by something else?What do you think is the best driver to get quality people today? We do stockoptions, we pay pretty well, we have a lot of wonderful fun benefit and supercool culture, but I would say the biggest things that and those thingsall kind of help. A lot of the studies on stock base compensation is that it'ssort of Nice to get and people appreciate it when they get it, but itdoesn't actually drive long term...

...behavior or drive a lot of motivationunless you do a really good job of talking about it and properlyexplaining it, and I think it works better in publicly traded companieswhen everything is going in the right direction. But what is actually workedreally well for us is to things is an amazing company culture and then Ithink our vision in our message and what we're getting to do and thefeedback we get from our customers is super impact ul for everybody who workshere and we're all kind of behind the idea that we can make a real differencein our clients, lives and in their students lives. So that's a big pieceand then the culture side. We just have a super fun time as a company andpeople quite enjoy working here, and we run internal employee N, ps surveysconstantly just to make sure and and then we have. You know anonymoussubmissions of what's good and what's bad and then we go out and fix things,hmm very cool. Now you mentioned before adventure funding at what point did youdecide? That was something you wanted to. You know bring on board, becauseyou said you only had the family support with the very early days. Didyou have to get some other funding like? How did the growth occur? Yeah, I thinkthe Nice thing for us was we never really had to and haven't had to. Wewere approached by some founders of other companies who had either weredoing really well or had sold their company, and so they were interested incoming on board and just in developing a relationship over time so that theywere able to add amazing value, either through introductions or businessadvice or guidance, and you know even just helping us through difficultdecisions, and so that was really the reason for us to bring on someinvestors and obviously the cash is helpful and Nice, but we're lucky, andthat once we hit revenue, it's been growing so quickly that it's reallyhelp facilitate everything that we want to do nice. So it's more like peoplecoming on board that are not just for finance reasons, but for actuallytechnical advice, support mentoring that sort of thing yes, yeah yeah. Soit's guys, like I mean Fraser and Dan from RECON, who started Vif, for whatwas Banco founders, find, is now B, ff h and and j there as well, and then afew other founders in Vancouver, like Ryan, from WHO sweet and Jeff from billdirect, have been amazing and super helpful at and helping US grow thecompany speaking of growth, with a company like yours, where it sort oftransitioned into a full blown doing yourself platform. You must havechanged your marketing a little bit to represent that to you would have had tokind of change. Your pricing point, your customer Avatar sounds like maybeeventually settled on what you described earlier, that sort ofteaching specialist person, but how did you kind of, especially because youwere the sales guy? How did that change the way? You grew the company in termsof just finding new customers yeah, we so early days when we were doing a lotof work for people, even shooting videos and marketing, and sometimesjust getting on the phone and selling their courses for them. We took a bigcut of the course, but what we saw and that cuts will ly reduced over time aswe did last for them and made it a bit more self serve. But then what weeventually saw is that when you're taking a cut of someone's revenue, itattracts people either, who fully expect you to do all the sales for themor there. They don't have a big vision for where they want to go, and thisdoesn't apply to everyone or early customers. But just I think the generalmessage it puts out there is, you know, come here. If you don't think you'regoing to actually be that big or you just want to kind of park your stuffhere, I actually had a C L, a few calls with customers saying like so you justtake a cut of my revenue. So if I never make any money, I can just park all mystuff on your side for free forever and I said Yeah, and he said. Oh that'sgreat. I'm like, I don't think this is going to be a good relationship here,where you're going to park all your stuff, we're going to pay for all yourvideo, hosting and band with and all this stuff- and you know, support it,but you're never actually intending on doing anything with this business orthis course it's free cloud storage, basically yeah BA yeah. So so weactually moved to more of there's a premium model. You can start for freeand then we have a monthly fee, and that really was a big turning point forus, an offering that we actually saw a...

...noticeable spike and change in theslope of our revenue curve, and I think it's because it actually suited ourordeal clients a lot better. That way. So I forgot I haven't brought in theyour wife, because I was kind of curious. She was there from thebeginning of think IFECK right, I'm not the very beginning, but but fairlyearly days yea. She remembers me coming home, pretty frustrated, sometimes inthe early he's and happy you know wins and laws, and all of that yeah youdidn't meet her at work. Did you no? I met her on Line e harmony. ActuallyNice Yeah, okay. So how did she I mean obviously she's the one that was beforetender yeah right, well, yeah a different different platform, but howdid she react? I guess because you said like during the early days you werethis entrepreneur who had not enough money to go to whistler for a weekend,because you were too busy working and putting, I guess, all the money back inthe company. How did she kind of play a part in the growth of like, as he wasan entrepreneur, and how did the relationship like, as I think it'ssomething that can have an impact on a relationship quite significantly,because entrepreneurs are like almost married to their companies right? Sohow did that interact with with your eventual marriage? I guess yeah she'sbeen super supportive. The whole way along so she's is interesting because Ithink some of the relationship I had shortly before that ended prettyquickly when they found out. I didn't I didn't, have a lot of cash on hand, butshe was not at all like that. She's super supportive throughout the wholejourney and always has been and still is, to this day. We especially now withtwo kids at home, so she's. She actually works at one of the top foraccounting forms. Well. She'll have me, say the top one K PM G, but she's takena one year, Matla with the two kids at home and is super supportive by takingcare of them so that I can get more done at work, but yeah she's just beenawesome. The whole way through in supporting me and all of that, and Idon't think that either the personal cash flow or even the amount that Iwork was too much of an issue. I think the fact too, that you know being a CPAand working for a big firm. She had totally understands hard work and longhours and that stuff, so even after a first kid came along, we would put ourdaughter to bed and then both of us would pull out our laptops and put afew more hours of work in before we go to bed, and you know I don't know thatdoesn't sound like the most romantic evening, but we do have our or I thinkit's important. You also have your couple time and that stuff built in andyour trips together or time together, a couple o time in on the laptops in bed.That's Rita's, very romatic yeah. I never been like an opportunity oreven a desire to potentially have her work with you and think of it. Eventhere seems to be like an overlap in her interests as well. She did helpwith our like financial statements a few times and I think through thatprocess, after doing it for the second year she said I would never work foryou, so we have an amazing relationship andit's really healthy, but I think we both realized. We didn't want to worktogether. So is actually it's a good friend of person now who was at k pmbefore who's now, our director of finance, so she gets along great withthe person who now does our financial statements dues but y yeah. I think werealized, in our small amount of working together that we're better offbeing married and not also working together. It is interesting. Somecouples I've met, who are a hundred percent that you have a countingtogether. They spend all their time together. They raise their kidstogether and then this amount of couples who like no, we don't worktogether and that's good, because that gives us the time a part. I you know wehave our own things. We focus on and we don't want to be a hundred percent inour entire lives together. So it's funny how that can work eitherdirection and it seems to be fine for the sake of a marriage greg. Let's USmove towards he andate interview here with. We think it focoism on thisincredible growth curve. What do you know personally want the company tobecome, and where do you see you going like? Is this something I know you're,probably not thinking about exiting it at this point or anything like that,but obviously at the bigger it gets they'll be more things like. Do youwant to float the company? I mean we've seen shop BEFO. I do that and I thinkis who sweet floated here as well. I'm not sure. Obviously, that's an option...

...know what are your personal goals forit? I did. I really have two big ones. Is We love? I love personally helpingother people, especially in kind of business and education pursuit. Sothose are the two big goals I have associated with it is is the more wecan help someone out there who has a passion or an expertise, and they wantto go out and share it with the world or make a difference in more people'slives and then helping them to build a business around that and help. I orderto grow their business further around that and then to go out and actuallymake a bigger difference. So the two pieces there is the business growth andactually achieving transformation in students, lives and education instudents lives to make a difference, and I really see I think education isthe strongest force on the planet for Affecting Global Change and worldchange and personal change, and that's really how I think you affect massivechanges is having lots of individual personal transformation and change. Sowe want to empower our clients to go and make that happen, and then on theclient side by growing their business. If there's a sustainable businessbehind your education and and sharing of knowledge and teaching others andsharing your passion, then it becomes something that can scale and it canreach more people and it can be sustainable and going for a long time.So to me, the big goal right now is the more we can do of that the better, andso, when someone reaches out to us, the first thing they see is that we'retotally dedicated to helping them in achieve their success in their businessand in educating others, and that probably, actually I mean it ties rightto a lot of our core values and things we do here and we'll spend money, evenif it doesn't mean more profit for us on achieving these things. So, forexample, we spend a lot more on customer support than I think any othercompany in our space does, because we want to make sure all our clients aresuper well supported. So it's really about driving to those two goals ofcreating real businesses that can actually go out and make change andtransformation and other people's lives and doing them as much of that aspossible. Okay, so basically focus on the core business and whatever happensfrom that point forward. You'll, you know see what happens kind of thinglike in terms of future growth. It's just the case of just doing the bestyou can for your customers right now, yeah and I mean I wouldn't put IPO offthe table at some point potentially or just continuing to grow, but I thinkthose are still far enough away. I mean we're probably big enough now we couldeven consider an IPO, but I've done them as a lawyer for clients before andnot really at that stage, where we'd want to look at something like thatfair enough. One last question for the listener: Who is loving your story inparticularly the think you big story, and they might have an idea for somekind of software platform or any kind of platform. I guess what would youadvise them to do right now to get started in terms of you've, certainlygot the hindsight experience, in particular with questions I thinkaround funding, because software seems to be something that people feel theyreally do need to get funding and potentially a lot of it, especially ifthey don't have a brother who's, a developer, and you know to make thefirst version of your platform like what would you advise to them? Ohcheese on the funding start, so I think I think we were misled a lot in theearly days of Thinkin that you could just put a pitch Dick Together, go to event, throw up an idea and someone would cut you a big check to go, buildyour software company. I think, barring the weird exception and the weirdexception being you know you used to work at a company where you had priorsuccesses, and you have investors who are just willing to bet on your priortrack record, which has to be pretty, I think extreme or you know other extremeexamples for the most part. I don't think that happens a lot just based onan idea in a pitch deck, so what I would say is figure out a way to do thenon scalable things to start the building of that company to get thosefirst customers, maybe on a more of a service basis initially or find that cofounder. You know they have a lot of services and meet UPS and Events andthings to go, find that technical, Co founder. It doesn't have to be yourbrother in some respects. That's maybe not the best idea, but go and find thattechnic co founder and then I would say just get building I mean with the toolsthat are out there. Now you can build basic level, saft software pretty damnquickly and then go out and get some of those first customers and get value outof that and I'd say you know getting...

...started with that. I think you're waybetter investing early efforts in building a marketing channel, gettingcontent out there and starting building a base of customers learning from thosecustomers starting to build that early product from them and may be doing somenon scalable, even service or custom work for them. Then you are worryingabout pitching investors. I think the only time the investment really workedfor US was when we didn't need it, and then the investors just came to us andsaid: Hey we're interested, so you still have to put yourself out therewhen you get to that point so that they can even see that you exist and beinterested, but early days I wouldn't be worrying. So much about investment.I'd be just getting something built. Getting some revenue going getting somecustomers going figuring out ways to prove out that you have some kind ofidea market fit. I should ask you also a very obvious question. This will bethe true last one for those people out there who might be thinking aboutcreating an online course. How do you recommend they get started, and youknow what it can be? The same people I online courses can be a really good wayof actually marketing and building a software company. I mean who sweet usesUS later. com uses us, which pond uses US lots of software companies into it.I think even Sam Sung does so. You can actually use courses now as a greatmarketing and sales to L and customer education tool, so even in buildingsome of those early customers. So that can be some of about early content. Youcreate to help bring in some early customers but yeah for anyone. WHO'sinterested in creating their own online courses, check out. Think PIC and we're there to help you get started.You can start out for free and then we've got actually training on thinkoffic to show you how to use. Think I IC and launch your own courses and thenour support team is there to help you out all the time and do you just likedelite if I had nothing right now, but I wanted to get started with on thecourse. Would you be saying to me: Go create your first video and thenupfloated to think of. In is that you, sir, your suggestion, I'd even say, gosign up for think Ivick and then we'll give you a course showing you how tomake your first video. So even even just out of the gate, I mean, if you'reI'd say the only place where it's a bit more challenging right out of the gateis: If you have no idea what you want to teach you know you don't have aparticular passion you want to share. You don't have an area of expertise,that's where it becomes a bit more challenging, but if you long as you'vegot that passion or that expertise that you think you can share with people andeven if you don't there, we have ways of helping it. We have actually acourse on kind of how to pick your course topic, so I would say, sign upcheck it out play around with it and then we can help you get startedawesome great, getting last words thanks. So much for out me this was alot of fun. I really appreciate it and yeah. Let's I love us who put the shownotes, we'll put the links in here, but just let's spell out think if, like just in case just think, think if Icould except take off for the all everything but the first letter ofthink, if I could so it's think if I com yeah awesome, thank you going fortaking a time to share some of the background story, interesting that thelawyer turned software entrepreneur and prior to that, marble entrepreneur,fantastic or maybe can the entrepreneur in lat show which I should kind of grayput you in, but I appreciate you spending the time with me to share thatstory, and I think everyone will have got a lot out of that. So thank you andgood luck with think you tick. I know I look forward a saying more, those thinkof the pities all around Lacour and the world, so keep a good work. Awesomethanks hero. I just finished listening to an audiobook about the foundation of Home Depot a company. You probably know about it'sa very large multiple in dollar company in the United States that sells homerenovations and repairs products. So I learned about how this company wasfounded, and the message I kept hearing was customer service is their numberone value and also the number one reason why they believe they aresuccessful and became market leaders. This reminded me of the message I heardfrom another book. I listened to many years ago about the foundation of Zappo,the online retailer of shoes that later got acquired by Amazon, the founder andthat whole book talked about the importance of customer service, and Ifeel like this is a message that seems to be repeated over and over again inthese entrepreneur, founder bio books. That customer service is the mostimportant thing to create a market...

...leading super successful business,whether off line or online or whatever the case may be, and this made me thinkback to it the very early days starting my business. I used to do customerservice myself entirely through email and at first I really loved it. I wasreplying to potential customers and current customers answering theirquestions, convincing them to buy from my business and it was fun, but theneventually, I started to get a little overrun with a lot of queries, a lot ofpeople who ask me about my products and services, whether it's right for themand then a lot of technical issues would come in like now. A link is notworking on my website or how do they access this resource? For you knowwhere can they download that or they can open a PD and these kind of emailskept coming in they after day and eventually the more successful I gotthe more of his emails? I got and I got really tired of replying to the samequestions over and over again now I knew that I could start building. Youknow ten plate replies to answer the most common queries which I did, but Ivery quickly became over run with this job I'd wake up in the morning, and Ihave to spend three hours just replying to messages, and you know there were alot of important in messages in there. A lot of potential customers I could belosing if I don't reply to those emails with a good, thorough, carefullycrafted email to give them the information they need. So I wasconcerned if I stopped doing this. My business is not going to work, yet I'mgetting less and less time in my life to do anything else, other than email.So that's the day. I realized I need to bring on someone else to help me withthis very important customer service role, handling the email in my businessand that's why I'm so excited today to introduce you to a new sponsor of thispodcast in box done com, which is a service where you can bring on board aperson to take over email in your business and your life. I want tohighlight how important that is to bring on a person who can take overcustomer service in your business, in particular email customer service. Soif anything, I said, they're resonant, with your current situation, with howyou deal with email, you know you're getting a lot of those kind of queriesand you're feeling, like you're, potentially missing out on business oryou're, not doing as good a job as you could dealing with really importantqueries for people who potentially want to buy from you or even currentcustomers who have bought from you or the more mundane queries like. I can'topen this PD for this link gave me a four or four. I can't find thisresource kind of emails, they're boring, but it's important you've got someonewho's, answering those questions and not only answering them, but buildingsystems creating ten plates and automatic sequences of emails thatchase up potential customers or deal with potential refunds processes toreally deliver exceptional customer service, and all of this can behappening without you being the person delivering those emails or writingthose emails or creating those templates. Certainly not the person who,logs in every day and puts in all this time to deal with something that isnever going to end your. I was going to get email as long as you have asuccessful business and in fact, you're only going to get more and more as youbecome more and more successful. So I recommend, if this is your situation,you check out the in box done. Com Service can hire someone who canessentially become your entire customer support team just by hiring this oneperson from in box done to take over email in your business. Now I can do alot more than that for you, but I recommend to find out all the detailsjust go to in box. Dono check out the website and you'll find an applicationform there, where you can apply for your very own female in box manager,who could take over a customer service in your business, which wouldpotentially can change your life. You can take this completely off your plateand go to sleep relaxed, stress, free, knowing that customer service is beinghandled by a dedicated person whose job is to deal with those emails every dayfor you, if that's in box done com go check him out. I.

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