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[00:00:00] Colin Keeley: All right. Hello and welcome back. This is Colin Keeley here, and I'm Brent Sanders, and we are two guys buying and building wonderful internet companies. Yeah.
[00:00:09] Brent Sanders: And, you just got back from a trip that we were, we were talking about, I think in the last podcast about, you, you've done two conferences last what, three weeks?
Four weeks, something like that. You've been on, you've been on the road, you're been on tour. Yeah.
[00:00:24] Colin Keeley: Yeah, really fun. You can hear my voice. I got sick shortly after. yeah, my lifestyle of going to bed super early and waking up super early is not super conducive to conferences, so takes a toll on me. but yeah, I went to capital camp, so this is put on by Brent Beshore and Patrick Oony.
, it's a awesome conference in Columbia, Missouri, of all places. So it's like 300 plus, super interesting people down there. I would say it's the most. Prestigious of sorts, and definitely the most expensive of like the, the circuit that we've been going to. So like SMB bash, HoldCo, this is one of the, the originals.
this, this is only the fourth year though, so hasn't been going on forever. but yeah. Awesome. Mostly private equity people, HoldCo people, venture capitalists, family offices. some founders kind of thrown in, but super fun. Awesome.
[00:01:13] Brent Sanders: Yeah. So any highlights from the, the
[00:01:15] Colin Keeley: trip? so it's all just done really, really well.
So you think of a normal conference mm-hmm. As like, sit in a dark room and go stare at speakers. they try to keep that to a minimum. So there's maybe, three hours of it one day, three hours another day. But most of it is like really, really good food and drinks and like fun activities.
So the way it works is, like maybe a month in advance, maybe more, you get this app and then you sign up for different activities and talks and. so a lot of things are overlapping, so you can't do everything. You kind of pick and choose and I picked and choose and I thought I like, had a perfectly optimized schedule.
And then all the schedule is very loose and it kind of all blew up. Like, so if you're doing nice, tennis from nine to 10:00 AM it's like, well the bus leaves at nine and tennis maybe ends at 10 or a little after, but then you gotta take the bus back. Yeah. And you're not making, the next two talks he signed up for.
yeah. So that was a bit of a bummer, but, good learning, But yeah, the best part is just like they do a really good job of curating people. So it all started out with just friends of the two guys putting it on and like permanent equity. And then from there it's basically all, referrals.
And they have capped it at around a little over 300 people I think. And I don't know how they do it. Maybe it's just a filter of like an expensive ticket. But, everyone there is super interesting and super friendly and even like the. Drivers, like the shuttle drivers were saying, why is everyone so nice?
Like, what is this conference? And everyone's in like shorts and t-shirts. So it's not like a traditional stuffy, finance conference in any sense.
[00:02:44] Brent Sanders: Yeah, yeah. Business conference. that's cool. , so obviously you're talking about money, talking about capital, you're talking about SMPs business, acquisition.
Were there any sort of standout topics that you thought were unique to the. The event, like something you just couldn't hear somewhere else?
[00:03:02] Colin Keeley: yeah, the power of content was a really big one. So the whole conference started from a Twitter interaction. Like a lot of big kind of Twitter personalities were there. So it's not purely a finance conference, it's like a interesting people conference to some extent. I saw David Perel and spoke with him a little bit.
so he gave like a small group talk. And,a couple other ones he's kind of leading. He is extraordinarily good at presenting. so one of his big pitches is like, throw a lot of stuff, have a lot of discussions, throw it out into like the world and collect feedback and see kind of what resonates.
And this is what comedians do and why. Dave Chappelle like goes to tiny venues cuz he's testing all these new ideas and he is like, you just keep that best, like 10% and you keep compiling that best 10% together into like an amazing product. And he was. explaining this, but he's also doing it.
Like almost every line he said was like, wow, that is really good. That's really punchy. It's clearly because he's written a lot of this and he's tested it all on Twitter and he knows what really resonates. So he has so many good examples, so many good metaphors. yeah, it was just like a whole nother level of presentation that I hadn't really, seen before.
Founders podcast. So David Centra was super interesting. He was there. so he much like my, like business breakdowns. He does that, but in podcasting form. so he is the founders podcast. Highly worth checking it out, definitely recommend it. he's also like kind of a maniac, so he is really fun to hear.
I, one of my other kind of goals in attending besides like, deals and capital and meeting people, was to like talk with a permanent equity team. So we covered Brent on a recent podcast. they're doing it really well and I wanted to understand like how they do it more so a lot of the team was there.
We had a, dinner at like their office, which is actually a home. So just in back is like the backyard and there's this, they actually pulled up this enormous smoker, like the biggest smoker I've ever seen, like the size of a small school bus in back. And that's how they made dinner for like 50 people.
but through that I was able to talk with a lot of their team and they're not finance people really. They're all like, I majored in English, I majored in journalism. they're all like literary. And so there's a huge content focus. So that was super cool to talk to people and like kind of see how they operate and what we should steal and bring the software.
And, you know what maybe doesn't fit quite as well. Yeah. The other kind of big takeaway is like a lot of these people there, they had a million Twitter followers. They run like multi-billion dollar funds. it's super cool to see people doing what we're doing at a much higher level.
Like one guy had 30 plus people sourcing for him. wow. And it's like, we we're doing this all ourselves and these people just have like monstrous operations. and everyone's very casual. So like, one guy's like, oh yeah, I raised 400 and did this. And it's like, wow, that's impressive. that's like a crazy bootstrapping story.
And he is like, oh no, 400 million. And it was like, I expect,k to be at the end of things like, oh, this is $400, 400,000. I know it was 400 million. So it's just like, yeah, kind of be more ambitious was a bit of the takeaway. And like, the people doing this stuff really aren't that different than you.
and they're just people just hanging out like everyone else. Hmm.
[00:06:00] Brent Sanders: Very
[00:06:00] Colin Keeley: cool. Yeah. So this is super worth it. that was by far the best conference. I may cut this part from the podcast, but one thing I wanna talk to you about is like, they have a funny price discrimination now. So they've maxed out the hotels downtown.
There's only a hundred spots that they can take and they wanna invite, 300 ish people. so there's only a hundred seats downtown. And they are now trying to change, charge different prices. So if you want a downtown ticket and you're buying a year in advance, it's 10 and a half thousand dollars.
And if you don't, it's eight and a half thousand dollars. and then if you wait to closer to ticket time or like conference time like we did, it's 10.5 for a normal ticket and 12.45 for a downtown ticket next year.
[00:06:41] Brent Sanders: Interesting. What's the attract? I mean, you're, you're staying in like a country hotel versus in Columbia.
Yeah, so I
[00:06:48] Colin Keeley: took a bunch of like, effectively nine minute Ubers. there's a shuttle, but you have to wait for a shuttle all the time. Yeah. But so the, if you buy a ticket now, it's, 25% less. So it's kind of an amazing business. yeah, it's a huge incentive to like, collect all this cash basically year in advance.
[00:07:04] Brent Sanders: Yeah, yeah. Know, know what you're working with. I mean, that's the, the difficult thing with, with events is like, people cancel, people change plans. even speakers cancels, like life happens. So it's it's pretty cool.
[00:07:18] Colin Keeley: Yeah. I don't have a lot of other takeaways. people kind of came from all over.
Holdcos are a big thing. Cryptos, not, I think there's one crypto person there. I think a lot of other people were like secret crypto people, but they're pretending they're like AI people now or something. so they just don't talk with, they're, Crypto believers. AI is a big topic of discussion.
Everyone's like, how do we take advantage of it? What does it mean for, different industries? but yeah, super fun, super interesting people kind of across the board.
[00:07:46] Brent Sanders: Very cool. Very cool. I'm glad you, I'm glad you went. It sounds like you made some good contacts. I mean, one of the things that we're trying to do is just meet new investors, meet and, and it's not just.
an average investor, it's like a particular backer that, we want to be selective about and, and get people that you know, you spend some time with, right? It's not just like how much you know about people. If you have a Zoom call, call with them, show 'em a deal. You do a follow up call and then they, ideally they wire, but it's like ideally you, spend some time break bread.
You do some activities, it's a great way to sort of like mix with people in like a, a normal sort of playground way versus, the, the typical, let me book some time on your calendar and we'll get to know one another.
[00:08:31] Colin Keeley: Yeah. That's what they nail and like everyone else screws up. It, it's actually like almost less work for them.
You don't need these big fancy speakers quite as much. You just need to like, set up interesting people doing fun things. So like just go set up tennis or pickleball for people. And, or like a lot of this stuff is,woodworking or metal forgery and it's, you're really just sitting next to interesting people.
Like, you're kind of occupied, but really you're free and just chit-chatting. so that was by far the best part of the conference.
[00:08:57] Brent Sanders: Cool. That sounds great.
Do you want to talk about the scout stuff? It's a little raw, but, Yeah, that was good.
[00:09:03] Colin Keeley: I think people like hearing that, we're not like the masters of this and, things are bumpy.
So, not ideal. I was gone all last week, in like book from, six 30 CrossFit in the morning to like, 10:00 PM after drinks. so wasn't super helpful, but you wanna talk through kind of what happened last week on Scout? Yeah,
[00:09:22] Brent Sanders: so, we decided to, to release the app that we've had in beta.
And we had a ton of users on the beta, that, we largely got the, good feedback from. The UI was very different. It was definitely not as polished as the, the production version. And so we took that, after week, after week you even mentioned, you're like, you know what? Every week it sounds like we're just, gonna release the app next week and, you find something new and improve it.
So with that, encouragement, we decided, hey, let's just, let's pull the bandaid off and just get this thing live. So we only have one. What was that?
[00:10:16] Colin Keeley: We're on the beta before we pull the trigger. Let's see. I thought it was like 25%.
[00:10:24] Brent Sanders: Yeah, that sounds right. somewhere around there like a minority, but not like a massive minority.
Not like, just, not like 5%. So yeah, about 25, 30. it kind of depends on the time, but yeah, we had a lot of people in the beta, they were actively using it. No crashes, no issues, no, no reports. And it, it had a, a couple of really cool features that were, vastly different, like offline access.
But, so we released the app on Monday. and it, it took a while to roll out. We didn't hear anything for a couple days, but unfortunately at the same time, that that's rolling out on Wednesday, we had an outage. So we had, two things. One is our database, which, we've been working to replace.
But we have to test the entire application on another tier, which is difficult cuz we have such a difference in data, right? It's so we have to build up some big customers in staging and do that while we're not handling support requests or other work. So it's kind of secondary work. database runs out of.
of space or, or essentially connections, not space, but connections that are available. And it starts taking these, these servers down. And so I hop on that and, we get it to a spot, but then we get it back online, and then everyone's hitting refresh. Everyone's trying to access, the platform at the same time.
So it's just going straight back up to a, out of connections. Out of connections. So we, naturally we need, we need to, Increase the amount of connections, but we can't do that without rolling over to a new database, which we're not gonna do it during an outage. Right? It's, it's something that we, we want to be really careful about because it is the database, it's the most important part of the app.
So, there was an extended outage and kind of, as traffic came down, things started to get back on track. We have a great support partner in this company called Do It. So if anyone's out there, a lot of this falls on just me. So we have a team, we have some developers, but they're not, they're not the ones that are responding to this stuff.
So naturally I'm pretty, pretty stressed out, that evening, don't sleep very well. Next day happens again, same time, and it's like peak, peak timing. And, we start to look around at what's going on and start seeing that,I won't get too technical, but essentially the thing that's running our servers, that's, deciding how many servers run, was misconfigured and it, it's kind of always been this way I guess, but, Our friends at Doit took a look at it again, and, and I walked them through what I was seeing and they were, helping me tune it.
And we got things tuned. Great. And now things are fine on the, server end, but, people are shaking two days in a row having an outage where they're, they're running their business at during their peak hours and it creates a, a bunch of issues. So I was, I was fried. And then we start having customers that were really surprised by the, new app version.
So it's, it, it's. It's been a kind of a tough thing where it's like, a lot of the, the feedback has been around poor notification or poor, like messaging, which I own. I, I, I guess I'm, I'm a little overwhelmed when it comes to getting all the code in a good place tested and then released, but then to also go update all of our docs, all of our sport articles, all of our videos, training materials.
Like, we didn't do that. We, we launched the app because we. Had found it's a, better experience, better, removed a lot of issues and we're trying to optimize for new users coming on, existing users, big customers trying to optimize to, keep everybody moving and, and lower the error rate.
But it, the error rates have gone up. So it's, it's now that it's really, so when we're week two of this and we're still having customers that are having issues and,unrelated to the. Outage, but that was the, the real kick in the balls was, as people were getting the new version of the app, the outage happened.
So they associated all these negative things, the server being down with the app, the new app version, which is like the worst possible timing, of any release I think I've had in my career. And I've had some bad releases. Right. I've, Especially with mobile. So this is one of those things where, mobile apps can be incredibly difficult because you're, you're hamstrung by, what's going through the store and the approval process, the access in proximity to data.
You can't really control a lot once things are out, to an extent, so we, we have, it's, it's been a slog. It's been a, a tough weekend, in, our, we had a, Like a user group Facebook group that I didn't, I think you mentioned before, but I, I was not aware of it. And somebody kind of go and rip shit in there who, I reached out to Yeah.
and spoke with yesterday, and they, these customers, they wanna really be supportive. And they are supportive, but, they, I think there's a lot of just like opportunities that they want to vent in these channels, which, it, it kind of blew my weekend up the, the entire weekend. I, I, I don't think I really slept normally in.
Since last week, since, before this, things were going really smoothly. We're getting our, bunch of features out. But since then, like every time a an intercom issue comes in, I get stressed out. We have support, but they're just escalating stuff to me. And I, I'm honestly, I'm just feeling fried ride.
[00:15:17] Colin Keeley: So, yeah, it's a lot. so backing up, like. Why release a new version? Why not just continue improving old version?
[00:15:30] Brent Sanders: I think that was the, I was fine doing that. I, I think we were doing it and doing it and, we had a conversation around, it just seems like we're working on this, but we're not releasing it.
And so I was like, okay, then let's, let's give it a shout. Let's release it. So it was, , it, it makes no real difference to me if people preferred the old one. It's just from a, like a general sense. So the grand scheme of things, though, the old version, we can't really support, right?
It's, it's so old that all the dependencies don't build. and we're, we're locked out. Like, so if something does happen with it, we can't replace it. So we've kind of forced that, that to happen by releasing it. But, yeah. Yeah, it was, it, it was kind of like the, the other main reasons is, offline access mapping, a lot of things that, like new customers would come on and they'd be like, this app sucks.
And it's like, fuck, we had it, we have that working so much better in the beta. So that was the real reason to go forward with that.
[00:16:27] Colin Keeley: I mean, all those seem like great reasons to move everyone to just new app. so obviously it's been bumpy, but why continue supporting the old app instead of just, fixing the new version?
[00:16:40] Brent Sanders: so great question. Yeah. So now we are running into issues. So today, I, we were talking about this before the podcast, so, and then Colin's like, we should talk about this and we should, this is a good. Topic. So, what we're getting are angry customers that are having new issues that they weren't having on the old app, which counteracts our assumptions and our findings of the beta.
And so it begs this question that,how was it that we had things working before, but now they aren't? Right? So, the code hasn't changed and we've made, we're continuing to make improvements, continuing to make improvements. But you know, it's what, what happens is there are issues that.
We can't reproduce. And so if we can't reproduce them, we can't fix them. And so that's always been the case before is like, we can at least reproduce them on the beta. And now there are connectivity issues. Or, and, and again, they may be related to the server, they may be related to, the database.
there are, all these things are, are intrinsically linked, but that's the, the, The, the thought of, Hey, let's put this thing back into production, what we had prior that had issues, known issues, but maybe a lesser known, lesser set of issues. And then just release a different app or a, go back to the beta and have people opt in.
If they like it, they can just use the beta and we've, we've made everybody happy. That's sort of the, the inclination to do that. But you know, like I said, we can't really build the legacy app.
[00:18:05] Colin Keeley: Yeah. is the best approach here. Not to just, burn the bridge. It seems like re reproducibility is something that will be figured out eventually.
[00:18:14] Brent Sanders: yeah, like I have confidence, you, you mentioned this when you came back from outta town on Friday, is like, let's just move forward, keep the eye on the ball, which is good, good feedback. Like, and then that's kind of like, I'm at the point now where, I think future versions will, this will right the ship, but you know, to at what cost?
Right. It's like, will we lose customers? Will, people, kind of run away from this product? maybe I need to set my mindset there so I'm not so stressed out. But what I think we're running into are people that had no issue and now all of a sudden they, they do have issues. And then meanwhile we have the same cohort of beta testers that have no issues.
Right. So it's like, it's hard to quantify exactly because the noisiest people are. having, we're, we're, we're hearing from the noisiest people.
[00:18:58] Colin Keeley: Yeah. And so I guess for perspective, we have, hundreds of customers. They all have, dozens or more dog walkers. So it's a lot of people.
And to me it was only a few that were like really pissed. And I think, I don't know, like I remember when Facebook launched the new newsfeeds, like a decade ago and everyone's like, I hate it. I hate it. It's horrible. And then, turns out actually probably better in a lot of ways,
[00:19:21] Brent Sanders: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I think that's just like, the life cycle of software products.
I, I think, the, the difference here is like, I wish we had a way to slow roll these releases and we, we probably do, but again, with the apps, or it can be kind of challenging where you, you can slowly let these out. But because we are in a position of such legacy software that, you know, I'd like to restore that.
I'd like to restore that ability to, hey, let people opt into the new one. If they have problems with the old one, they know it works. They know it, it works enough for them. Or for some people it just works and others it doesn't. So it's, it's kind of a, a strange spot. we're trading the same problem though, right?
It feels like we're trading one set of problems for another and we still have problems. Right? So I'd rather have problems on a newer code base, right? It's, we, we have the ability to manage that, but, But yeah, that's the, the latest story on Scout. I mean, the reality is, is customers are definitely, have their confidence shaken, but because of what the product does and how sticky it is, it's, some may leave, some may, you've already been, looking to leave.
But I don't think this is necessarily going to have a, a really strong impact on m r immediately. I mean, if I think if it continues it will though. And so that's, that's kind of my main concern at this point.
[00:20:41] Colin Keeley: Yeah, so we haven't seen a negative impact from it. I think the stickiness, which we knew, it just makes it hard to move off.
Not that people wouldn't, if it was horrible for long enough, it just, from the outside it seemed like it was always gonna be bumpy. Like it would've been shocking if there were no issues. I just wonder if we're overly focused on a few loud customers, and then, it's actually better overall, but people don't say right in to say, Hey, hey, I like the new update or anything.
If it doesn't really matter.
[00:21:07] Brent Sanders: Some people have no, I mean, some people for sure have, I've, I've seen probably, dozen to a half dozen of like, oh wow, this is so cool. Like, it works better and, problem's fixed GPS is better and then, you get a, another dozen of the GPS is worse or, these, these strange inconsistencies.
So, yeah, I, I, I don't think I'm focusing it, but I, I do. Want to fix it. And so we can keep releasing the, the fear that I have is we release a new version that thinks in which we think in our testing, which is limited, and some beta testing looks better, but then it ends up being even worse. Right? And so then you have something in production.
So I guess what I want is that like safe production backup. And so that's what I'm trying, I I think it's worthwhile to spend time to see if we can get that back up. Recalibrate and try this again and just call it, Hey, it's a failed launch. Now that you don't see that very often, but, and, and it's not the direction I really want to go, but I, I also want to appreciate that this is like how people are, are doing their job.
This is how they're getting paid. So if we're adding all this, our customers are time poor, they are not technical, for them to. Kind of it, it's kind of pulling the rug out on them. And, we knew we were gonna have to do some hard work and have some bumps and break some eggs, but, this is beyond what I think is acceptable, right?
It's beyond what I think is like acceptable to expect out of, a product
[00:22:35] Colin Keeley: you're paying for. And so I, I guess going forward, if you reinstate the old version, do you just have people that will forever be tied to the old version and then you just have two versions? Or you go? No,
[00:22:48] Brent Sanders: I think now No, you, you just, I think you start again.
I really do. I think that this is what you have to do is you just have to start again and, go back to the, the final version and then be like, Hey, you, you need to have dates set out where it's like, Hey, we're gonna slowly release this, or you support the old one forever and they relaunch an entirely new app and let people choose between them, which is like the worst product idea ever.
But I think in this case, With the customer base. Like the, I think had I done this over, I, this knowing this, it was in beta for eight months, I would say this is the type of customer base that, that's okay. And it's gonna be a year right. When you're gonna roll it out over a year. And it's, like, I've seen this with like ancestry, right?
ancestry.com, they never changed anything and I, I worked as somebody who sold their business there and they, they were like, we can't launch anything. Like we've launched stuff, but they, they release it so slowly because they're, it's all senior citizens using it that, they, they don't want to, to ruffle any feathers.
[00:23:52] Colin Keeley: creates too much churn. So the concern is, I care, I mean, I care about existing customers, but I care a lot about the new customer experience, right? And that like conversion funnel. And so new customers would get back the old app and they would have to opt into the beta, which really is the one that performs much better.
It's just a clunky experience. Is that not how it would be going back to,
[00:24:14] Brent Sanders: yeah, that would be immediate. Yeah. That would be the, the potential path forward. So customers, they, they, one day the, the UI changes, right? They get this update. that, or we would, we could possibly release it to a separate, entirely separate location, call it Scout legacy or something like that.
Which, at, at this point it's like, it doesn't matter. We could, we could do it either way, but we could leave the, the Scout app as it is and have our current live and beta and then just release a legacy version just to like, keep the, the old folks happy and let that run as long as it can and as long as it will until, it's no longer supported by, the respective
[00:24:51] Colin Keeley: stores.
That's maybe a nice in between ground where it's like, New customers are still getting the new app experience and,loud old people can stick with a legacy experience. yeah. Oh, and one more thing I wanted to talk to is, so there's a scout user group, which I didn't know existed until like, A couple months ago, and then I got access to it and no one had said anything.
I think, think since like November. So we weren't really monitoring it. Yeah. and then this update went off and then this group went nuts. Like every, really, just a few people that were really vocal about it felt like being super negative and stirring up other people. should we shut down this Facebook group or monitor it?
Yes. Or, remove the problematic members, like, any thoughts?
[00:25:35] Brent Sanders: I would, I would delete it. It's not the problem that I have, it's not, I do want to talk to customers. I want them, it's funny, I've had conversations with probably the majority of the people in that room, or I actually dunno, but I've, I have conversations with customers and I get their feedback and I organize it, and I list it and I backlog it, and I, we prioritize it.
Like we, we do shit with it. We don't, the problem with these groups is it's just a. Piss poor way to get information, and it, it, it starts rumors and disseminates incorrect information, and it's just straight up wrong, right? It's like, it's, it's bad information that gets, shared with folks that, take it as fact or take it as truth when it's not.
It's, the fact of the matter is, is like user groups are great. But they need to be moderated. So yes, for now, I think we need to keep it because it's been around, but I think we need to announce, Hey, this is going away and it's being replaced by, a Trello board. And, and if you wanna book a time with.
F the team to have a conversation around gripes you're having, here's a link and we'll talk, I'll talk to every single member of that group. But what I don't want is like people bitching and moaning to each other about things that may not even be true. Right? Like, that's the thing that really concerns me is that there's negativity spurred on with speculation and, and it just goes to a place that's completely unproductive.
Like we, we just can't have that.
[00:27:01] Colin Keeley: Should we keep it and monitor it, right? We could just put someone in there that's replying to everything. So any, misinformation that pops up, we could kill immediately. Or is it better to just not let customers speak to each other because it just goes negative too quickly and doesn't benefit the company?
[00:27:20] Brent Sanders: Yeah, I, I think that's the thing. Scan it or, I'm sorry, monitor it. Not scan it, monitor it for a period of time. But you know, from that point be like, Hey, this is, this is getting deprecated. Put a post in there that's like, we're not gonna, we're not gonna keep this open. You guys can, the, the fear is that people kind of go and start their own room or whatever, but Right.
and they can do that, but it's like to have a sanctioned room we're not using, or a sanctioned group, like, I want to have these conversations and want them to be productive and I, it's not productive and it benefits really nobody, if they're not getting real information and it's speculation or whatever, and.
we're not, we're not controlling it. So in my mind it's, it's like all fun when things are going great, but if there's like an outage and a mobile app goes live at the same time and somebody feels like it ruined their day and they want to, kind of make everyone else feel their pain, it's, it's a great way, makes them feel good.
But it's really not what, the intention of that group was.
[00:28:20] Colin Keeley: Yeah, I think that's a good plan. I don't really wanna monitor it. It doesn't seem super productive so far. well cool. Anything else you wanted to cover?
[00:28:32] Brent Sanders: no, not on the podcast. I think that's good. All right. Take care everyone.
[00:28:35] Colin Keeley: Bye-bye.