Brad Morrison

WPSO-2018-07-17_Brad_Morrison

Transcription:

Micah: [00:05] Welcome, you’re listening to the WP Square One podcast. This is Micah.

Aaron: [00:10] And this is Aaron. And we have a good friend of mine, Brad Morrison here, that we’re interviewing today. He is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at GoWP. How are you doing, Brad?

Brad: [00:23] I’m doing well. Thanks for having me.

Aaron: [00:24] Yeah, no problem. Thanks for spending a little time on your busy day doing all of the support that you do. Tell me a little about what you do, about GoWP and whatnot.

Brad: [00:39] Okay, sure. So GoWP is a WordPress maintenance and support service and we have monthly subscription plans that people subscribe to. We serve agencies, small businesses and nonprofits, and then the service includes, on the maintenance side, WordPress core and plugin updates, we do off-site backups, restorations as needed, and then security scans and malware removal. And then on the support side, we like to think of ourselves as kind of a help desk for WordPress. So if you have issues that can be done— Plans include unlimited small tasks. So anything we can get done on the WordPress site, whether it’s content all the way through to custom code, as long as we can do it in half an hour or less per task, you get an unlimited amount of those in a support subscription. One thing that makes us a little bit different—there are others that provide the services—is that we mostly work with agencies and web professionals. So people that are building websites for others that want to outsource their support to us and we do that on a white label basis.

Aaron: [01:49] Gotcha. That makes sense. You guys also will do things beyond small tasks though, right?

Brad: [01:56] Yeah, we will. If it’s something that’s kind of out of scope for a small task, we do offer a medium task which is up to one hour’s worth at any one sitting of work. And then a large task which is up to two hours. At this time, we don’t do anything beyond that. We kind of think of anything more than a couple of hours that needs to be scheduled, that’s a mini project or even a full-fledged project in some cases. What we do there is we would refer that out to one of our customers. Again, we’re working with a lot of web professionals that are capable of and like doing projects like that. So we refer that stuff out to our customers or referral partners.

Aaron: [02:41] Sounds good.

Micah: [02:41] Cool. So as far as GoWP and your involvement in the WordPress community, tell us a little bit about that.

Brad: [02:53] Yeah. So I’ve lived in Georgia almost all my life, but in the Atlanta area other than a very brief visit back around maybe 2001— I worked here briefly and then moved to the Savannah area, but I’ve been back in Atlanta for I guess three years now. And that was one of the things. Atlanta is a neat place and has a very vibrant WordPress community. And I did not have that of… We ran an agency for ten years in Savannah and Savannah is a wonderful town, great town to spend some time in and live, but it’s a smaller city. So it’s been really cool being here in a larger city that has so much going on, and on the WordPress side, we have, I think over ten meetups that meet regularly in the area.

Aaron: [03:47] I heard you said ten. Did you mean too many?

Brad: [03:51] Never too many.

Aaron: [03:54] Just kidding.

Micah: [03:55] And you go to all of them, right?

Brad: [03:59] You know, I’ll go to the ones at least on the northside in Atlanta inside the perimeter. But I don’t make it down; I live on the north side. So I think one reason there’s a lot in Atlanta is because Atlanta has so many different pockets. It’s a spread-out city. It’s a huge metropolitan area. And so there are some further east, Micah, on your side. The Gwinnett area that is a little harder for me to get to. And especially the ones on the south side. But the Marietta ones, yes, and I co-coordinate the North Fulton WordPress meetup that meets in Alpharetta. And we’ve been doing that now for I guess almost three years. In October, I think it will be three years, so I guess a little over two and a half. It’s been awesome, and we have a lot of fun with that. Some of my best friends that I’ve made here in the area are through the WordPress community and I love the people, I love the product too, love WordPress. Obviously I have a business built around that, but it’s really cool to just hang out with like-minded people.

Aaron: [05:13] Yeah, sorry about the bad joke there, there aren’t too many, but it is spread out and I say there’s too many because I can’t make it to all of them. In fact, doing one next week and I realized I scheduled that at the same time of Micah’s. It’s probably a forty-five minute drive difference between the two. So hopefully we’re not pulling too much from a different group of people, but it’s still good to have such a big community, especially with our word camps, which you are heavily involved in the Atlanta work camp, too, specifically 2018. Your a organizer there.

Brad: [05:58] Yeah, along with Mickey Mellen, we’re, kind of co-lead organizers and then we have a group of probably ten or eleven, you guys included, that help us organize a word camp and just a tremendous group of people and a great event. So we’re kind of already planning now for 2019 and looking still at venue options and specific dates, but we’ll have all that kind of shored up pretty soon but we had a bit over seven hundred tickets sold last year and I think there’s even more demand here. We may go increase that attendee count a little bit, if we can, but yeah, it’s a fantastic event. One thing since being involved in that is just the scope of that that’s run by volunteers.

[06:55] I mean there’s a hefty budget for word camp and people spend hours and hours and hours of time over the course of twelve, thirteen months even to get ready for it. And that’s something. So my eyes have definitely been open just in jumping into that and seeing all the moving parts that make the word camp happen. And one thing about the meetups, too. Having the meetups that allow people that want to either help organize… Alright, let’s start with organizing a meetup and then also speakers. We have a lot of speakers. I love the way WordPress can kind of grow with the edges. People, they just happen to show up to a meetup and then three months later, six months later they’re speaking at a meetup and then they go to Aaron’s meetup, the one he organizes and then they go to Micah’s meetup and they speak there and so you are able to really to fine tune the presentation that you want to give or multiple presentations and then when word camp rolls around and you’ve got a much bigger audience in the ballroom, you feel very comfortable in giving that presentation. So that’s cool to see, too.

Micah: [08:08] Cool. So this is what you do for fun then?

Aaron: [08:16] Maybe.

Brad: [08:17] Now when I think about it. Is that sad? I don’t know.

Aaron: [08:21] I don’t think it’s sad. I mean, you should say that because you’ve offended all three of us but to piggyback, it’s a community. So, is it work, what I do for fun? Kind of. I mean it is cool. It’s easier for me to make it to the ones that are in the middle of the day than versus at night, so I can’t make it to those, quite like yours I went to once, sorry.

Brad: [09:00] Don’t worry. It’s not like I’m keeping track here.

Aaron: [09:03] I am. Anyway, well tell us a little about the background of GoWP, we know what you do now, but how did you start there?

Brad: [09:20] Yeah. So, I started my own business. It’s 2004 in Savannah, and at that time I had an IT background, well, I say IT – IT in education. I was a technology coordinator at a K-12 private school. When you’re at a private school where funds are tight, they kind of use you for everything. So being technology coordinator, I taught seven periods a day from anything from pre-kindergarten computer to a senior French and I don’t know French well. I’ll be honest. And so I was doing a little bit of everything and then fixing computers and maintaining the network in the afternoons and evenings and I really enjoyed. I love the kids and I did like teaching a lot.

Aaron: [10:14] I’m going to sneak in, define…sorry I have four kids. So when you say pre-, you just said pre-kindergarten computing.

Brad: [10:24] Yes.

Aaron: [10:25] Well what is that?

Brad: [10:27] So those are four- or five-year-olds that come in. So they had a pre-K group. I guess mostly four and five. And you’re just teaching them how to, you know, this is a mouse, this is the keyboard and there are some little games that they can do. You’re matching the letters. We did a lot of like, you know, again, this is a long time ago, so the equivalent of Paint, or some type of program like that, but it was very basic typing just using the mouse. And then a few specific games for that age that they could play.

Aaron: [11:08] That’s awesome. Okay. So that type of stuff now, like my kids do online, I’m sure I pay for some kind of subscription for like an ABC mouse or that type of stuff, so that makes sense. That’s got to be kind of cool to teach.

Brad: [11:28] It was really neat. It’s funny, they’ll raise their hand, Mr Computer teacher, it’s just very cute kids and it makes your day when you, especially going from the little kids on up to the middle schoolers, that takes patience and then the high schoolers, you kind of have to stay a step ahead of because they’re always out to get you and it’s fun. It becomes. But they like to prank and it’s just a different world. It was kind of refreshing for the little kid, I really enjoyed the little kids because you don’t have to watch your back as much.

Micah: [12:07] So it really prepared you for customer service, right?

Brad: [12:11] That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. So I taught computers and I taught at a private school and was the technology coordinator and then I said, hey, I am really interested in entrepreneurship and I’d love to start my own company and build something from scratch. I had previously worked at other companies, startups and seeing on the technology side. There’s a rush to that, especially when you’re building it on your own. It’s good or bad, it’s you, you built this and you feel proud of that. And so I wanted to do that, at the time I didn’t know if I was going to do more hardware and networking or websites. When you’re starting out you have no money coming in. You say, hey, yeah, I can do it. I can do it.

Micah: [13:00] Yep, that’s right.

Brad: [13:02] One of my first customers was a surf shop on Tybee. I’m building a website for them and then on the hardware side a lawn, kind of a commercial lawn equipment sales company in Savannah, I’m setting up their eight computers and a point of sale system. And so I kept doing that for a couple of years and just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. And then I really loved web technology and I love building websites and so I went in that direction. I guess 2004 was formally when we were incorporated. I did it by myself building Joomla websites until about 2009. And then I realized, hey, you know, Joomla makes it easy to do some things, but I’ve been watching WordPress over here and it used to be a really nice blogging platform, but now people are using wordpress for so much more and it seems to be getting fast. It seems to be getting better, much quicker than Joomla is. Joomla’s kind of stagnant and WordPress, they’re building all of this functionality into WordPress core. At that time, I think it was around probably two point eight (inaudible 14:15). You have a custom post types, you have.. something that’s simple. I, Micah and Aaron, you may know this, I don’t know what version, where they actually put menus in the admin panel and it’s crazy to say, but that’s one thing that held me back, me trying to do it not as a true developer trying to build websites for people, it just made sense to me that, okay, everything’s here in Joomla, I can do that. And then things were kind of added to the admin panel and it made more sense and made it easier to build sites. I hired Lucas Cardiac who’s still with us today and he was our first hire and he kind of took us down the WordPress path and we haven’t looked back. And then in 2014 we rebranded it as GoWP.

Aaron: [15:02] Nice. So the menu thing, I think custom posts were in two nine, but they weren’t officially released until three point oh. Micah, do you know about the menu?

Micah: [15:15] I don’t know about the menu. Yeah, I think…

Aaron: [15:18] It was around that same time, like oh eight, oh nine. Before you had to use a stupid plugin to sit there and create pages. It was a mess before.

Brad: [15:34] Yeah. I think I’m just going into the editor and adding menu items, that didn’t make sense. You could do it and I could understand how you do it, but I didn’t understand why you would do that when you could just do it so easily over here in another system.

Aaron: [15:56] Makes sense.

Brad: [15:59] I can tell you about the transition to GoWP if you want to hear that. We spent ten years as an agency and we did a little bit of everything. The short story on that is we got tired of doing everything. You guys both have worked in the agency world, you know that, especially imagine someone doing it by themselves, right by myself and then I have Lucas who’s a developer and then we have eventually grow into project managers and designers and you talk about moving pieces. They’re so much involved in doing that when you’re doing everything from logos to writing content for people to building websites to full scale marketing and paid ads management and everything. We kind of wanted to simplify that. No one on the team was really happy with the quantity of work and on some levels the quality. We were good at some things, but we were not good at everything and we were trying to do everything. We tried to simplify around something that we were really good at, which was support and so that’s how GoWP came into being in 2014.

Micah: [17:17] So everyone kind of glosses over their transition like, oh yeah, we did this and then we started doing that. But I always wonder, implementation wise, how do you make transitions like that? What does it look like to drop customers or convert them to the new system, that kind of thing?

Brad: [17:37] Man, that’s a great question. Fortunately, because we had done this for ten years, we had a lot of customers—mostly small businesses, but we did have a lot of customers. I just sent out a series of emails that said, “Hey—” And keep in mind I should say, from a business management standpoint, I had looked at our hosting. We went from having our own lease servers to using a service. There were times where you have pager duty if the server goes down at three in the morning, you wake up and you fix it. Again 2004, 2007, it probably was during that time.

[18:17] But the one good thing about hosting is that it’s consistent income, consistent revenue every month and it’s stable and it keeps growing. It’s pretty sticky. As long as you’re doing a good job, they’re going to stay with you. Don’t give them a reason to leave, and provide good support. They’ll stay with you. And so we watched that grow and we said, “Hey, let’s product that support.” We’re building websites and we love the $20-30,000 project. We love doing that, but we’re also in Savannah, which is a smaller market. To go and find more of these, we’ve got to do that outside of this market. But we were generating quite a bit of income from the hourly billable tasks that we were doing for the sites that we had already built because we had a lot of small business sites. And so when looking at the numbers, we’re saying, “Okay, if we convert a small portion of these over to a monthly plan, this will really even out and it will provide the same type of recurring revenue that our hosting is doing.”

Speaker 3: [19:24] We had to first of all come up with a concept and we looked at the landscape, there were a few other companies that were out there doing similar. And so we said, “How can we kind of productize this, distinguish ourselves but make sure we’re meeting the need on WordPress maintenance and support?” And so I sent an email out to our customers and I really lead with, “We know you hate hourly billing.” I hate hourly billing. I knew they hated hourly billing. They’re always wondering, “Are you charging me for this?” And so I kind of lead with that. It’s like, “We’re going to take that away, and here’s what the monthly plans include, this is the cost,” gave our existing customers a discount on being a first adopter and agreeing to go with it. We actually converted a decent amount of customers who were using us or would be interested in using us for the support task. So that worked out well for us. Now, was that enough revenue immediately to pay our staff? No, it was not. We got lucky in some ways. We had some natural attrition. We just had people that were moving on. One person was here on a student visa and she moved back and wanted to do her own thing. We had two other employees that wanted to start their own businesses. We did have to go a lot leaner than we were at that time but the other thing is we cut new projects so we did not take any new projects on, and I say that. There was probably a time where if something came in, I knew we could do it and we could do it well, we would take that for a few extra months. But I can think of a handful of bigger projects that we just really focused on the next year of getting those out the door and that provided some revenue during the switch over and then we worked as hard as we could to generate new business and even convert more existing customers over. It wasn’t easy, but I think we were kind of in a unique spot because we had been doing that for ten years.

Micah: [21:50] Cool.

Aaron: [21:53] I can edit that part out.

Brad: [21:58] I’m going to be honest with you guys. I’ll talk.

Aaron: [22:02] I mean, coming from the agency world, I get that and I can see transitioning could be really hard. So, with your hosting stuff, you guys don’t do any hosting?

Brad: [22:18] We do provide hosting right now and that was something that, when we first started GoWP, we actually kept hosting and it was equal, I should say, so we had four hosting packages, actually we had three, we had three hosting packages and three maintenance and support packages. We actually had some plans that were intermixed as well, so you could do kind of a hosting plus support. So hosting plus unlimited support tasks. But our goal was just to say: hey, we’ve been doing hosting a while, we’re trying to get this new, so it’s kind of a second, recurring revenue stream on the support side, so let’s keep offering both of these and things have changed a ton in the manage WordPress hosting world since 2014. So that’s something. It’s awfully hard to compete with companies that are getting $100,000,000 plus in funding and that’s just not who we are. It was a small time host and we took that service off of our site and we stopped selling that to new customers, probably two years ago now, almost two years ago. It’s been maintenance and support exclusively since then. We do still host sites for customers and we have added additional sites from our current customer base.

Micah: [23:45] Makes sense.

Aaron: [23:51] So I’m kind of curious, when you were talking about when you were getting into WordPress, making the switch from Joomla, I’m always curious, what made you take that second look at WordPress? Have you been tracking it the whole time or was it more somebody in the WordPress community said: hey, you should check this out, or what was that like?

Brad: [24:22] Yeah. So, I’ll have to think back about that. I think at that time, because we had built Joomla sites, again, your Joomla was by far what we were using most of the time, but we were also doing open cart I think. Is that the name of it? Maybe. And then there was a real estate CMS, I guess there were a lot of, I don’t want to say equal CMSs, but kind of fledgling CMSs, that did certain things. There was no dominant CMS. It was really: Oh, do you want to run an ad server? Okay, well here, use this software, are you looking to build online courses? Will Moodle is the way to go. And so there were a lot of different packages and so we tried to do a little bit with all of the open source systems and so if a real estate client said: this is what we do, then we try to do it this way. WordPress was definitely in the mix and it’s always, can I do things more efficiently with whatever I’m trying to achieve. But we were, even though we were Joomla, we didn’t brand ourselves as a Joomla shop, we were kind of platform agnostic. It was really what can we do with open source software to meet the needs of the customer. For just standard business sites, I guess I had probably always viewed WordPress is a great blogging platform, up until 2008 and then when you start to say: okay, you can build these small business sites easier and with more functionality because the plugin marketplaces or a plugin repository is so much more mature. And then you start saying: okay, well this is just a better way than to build small business websites than Joomla is. And then I think, what probably the actual trigger was, I brought Lucas in. I brought him in. I can’t remember. I think we were actually trying to use another CMS at that time and I think he might have convinced me, hey, we can do this in WordPress, and so we actually ended up building that site or whatever that was, pretty certain it was real estate, but I don’t know if it was just the real estate listings if we were pulling in from a real estate transaction server and MLS server, I think we might have been. And I think we were able to get that done. He was able to get that done because he knew WordPress so well. So I think that might’ve been what convinced me. It’s pretty much on par or better than Joomla. I’ve got a developer access to a developer that knows how to code WordPress websites. And so I think that was the actual trigger.

Micah: [27:27] Cool. Yeah. I was actually introduced to WordPress by Adam, Aaron’s co-worker. So that was actually funny. And to your previous point of specialization, I used to have a lawn care company. Originally, I just did maintenance primarily, but I had named the company Lawn Care Unlimited and I was constantly being asked if I did hardscapes or pools or everything under the sun. So I changed my name and I stopped getting a lot of those.

Brad: [28:10] Weeding out the bad leads.

Micah: [28:11] Exactly.

Aaron: [28:12] You said weed. Sorry, not the drug, the weeds, you know, lawn care. Sorry. That was pretty bad. So Adam introduced me to, what should we call it, WordPress also. And I fought it because I quit my job in 2008 and I picked ten CMSs that I thought were actually kind of good or look good. And I tried them all out and I wound up not landing on WordPress but in 2008, towards the end of the year, a friend of mine said: hey, you know PHP. And I said: yep. And he said: I have a WordPress site. And I got in and I did all the wrong stuff within WordPress. I did in the who are not developers, but I did stuff like select star from (inaudible 29:11) or was it a DVP underscore post, instead of just the function to call in (inaudible 29:19) and stuff, but I knew PHP and that’s one of the things that I really like about WordPress even though it’s not the right way to do it. You can pretty easily get into WordPress, the community, or you can start building a website pretty quickly and modifying it, without knowing everything you probably should know. I’m just, I guess the bars roll low.

Brad: [29:51] Yeah. And there’s a lot you can do with it without coding, right? So there’s so much you can do just from a community standpoint. Aaron, I’m curious, what was your first word camp?

Aaron: [30:04] So this guy named Micah…So, Russell, Fare and Micah were going up to Nashville. I guess this was 2012, I think. And we had sideways eight, which started in 2010, which is my company. We started doing WordPress because Adam was pushing me: you got to use WordPress and I wound up caving and I’m glad I caved. It took me a little while to kind of get into the community. I was using WordPress for years before I went to meet ups and whatnot. But the first word camp was Nashville, 2012.

Brad: [30:55] Okay, cool. Was that your first one, too, Micah?

Micah: [30:57] No, I actually went to word camp Savannah in 2010. Or 2009 or whatever it was, I forget.

Brad: [31:02] I was there. Awesome. And that was an interesting one. I think it was a gap after that, I don’t know that they’ve had another one since in Savannah. That was kind of put on more, not by the local community, but more of some of the people involved with WordPress. I think there were some people that lived there that were either employed by Automatic or the Foundation.

Micah: [31:26] I think they were having some company getaways on Tybee that weekend, or that week. So that was why they did that, I think. But Aaron, you need to also share not just your first word camp experience, but your brief introduction on how we introduced you to a disc golf.

Aaron: [31:50] Yeah, that was interesting. So we’re driving from Atlanta to Nashville and I was wearing… when was it? I think it was April. I was wearing pants and a shirt, which is as you should, right? If we’re going out in public. Nonetheless, we got there and I was like, they kind of pulled off. They said: hey, on the way we’re going to go to this little place and do disc golf. And it was hot. Basically I wound up sweating the whole time. Oh no, I changed shorts, while I was there. But that was interesting. It was fun. Something I don’t think I was that good at, probably, but it was definitely fun.

Micah: [32:37] I still remember the phone call you made to your wife and the description used to explain to her.

Aaron: [32:43] What did I say? I don’t remember.

Micah: [32:47] He’s like:, hey honey, you remember that time we were in the field and people were chunking things at us? We’re doing the chunking.

Brad: [32:58] It all makes sense now.

Aaron: [32:59] I forgot, we were at a place in a nearby house. I did not realize that they had little… What are.. ghouls? Are they called goals? I don’t know, but people were flowing…

Brad: [33:14] The whole chain things, I don’t know what they are.

Micah: [33:15] Basket.

Aaron: [33:16] Baskets. We’ll call them baskets. Yeah. People kept shooting frisbees at us and I was like, what is going on? So yes. I didn’t realize what was going on there, so not the safest thing in the world, but it is actually kind of fun, more fun than I thought it was going to be.

Brad: [33:38] Who won?

Micah: [33:40] Probably Russell because…yeah.

Brad: [33:44] It was his thing?

Micah: [33:48] I’ve always seen people playing that and it looks fun. But I don’t think I can throw a frisbee well. That’s the problem.

Brad: [33:55] And then the special frisbees, you have to hold them just right and get the rest…

Aaron: [34:00] I was going to say, they’re not frisbees. They’re discs.

Micah: [34:04] You have to find the one that speaks to you.

Brad: [34: 05] Like a ping pong and (inaudible 34:06).

Aaron: [34:08] Two totally different things.

[34:11] Yeah. So why’d you ask, just out of curiosity, when my first word camp was?

Brad: [34:18] I was just curious. I didn’t know. I knew in Atlanta they have been going on, how long? 2010, 2011? And you mentioned about getting in. That’s another interesting thing that I’m always curious about, when we show up at word camps and especially when we’re sponsoring and we’re talking to people that are there is just, what made you come here, why were you interested? Especially being an organizer. I’ve heard everything from: Someone told me about it. I just thought it might be interesting. So do you use WordPress? Are you interested in? It’s like, not really, I just wanted to stop by, I’ve heard people that have no connection or even maybe interest in and they show up because it’s like, okay, well maybe there was a talk that they saw on the website that might be interesting. And that’s something that’s cool about WordPress is, there’s a lot of marketing talks and business talks and design and development. It’s a big WordPress community and it touches a lot of different areas that can be helpful for someone with their business or if you’re a nonprofit worker, maintaining or handling marketing for, your nonprofit. It can be helpful.

Aaron: [35:32] The one in Nashville, I was really surprised at how dev heavy some of that stuff was, having three different tracks there was nice. I just sat there and the developer or Micah and I sat in the developer room basically the whole time and stuff, like, I understood the majority of it, but some of it went over my head. It was intense. Micah, do you remember those two ladies that were there the whole time in the dev track?

Micah: [36:08] Yeah. They were, what, like sixty, seventy, somewhere there.

Aaron: [36:14] Yeah, I was like, go. You go, if you’re following this, that was cool.

Micah: [36:22] Nice. Very cool.

Aaron: [36:26] Micah, do you have a question?

Micah: [36:31] Sure. Yeah. So it wouldn’t be the WP square one podcast if we didn’t ask. If you had to start back at square one, today, what would you have done differently?

Brad: [36:44] Good question. I would have probably made the transition, if not to GoWP, to product tied services sooner than we did. I mean, we talk about happiness a lot at GoWP because if you go all the way back, that’s where things started. So at that time, my daughter, she was around two years old and she would, in her world, you were either happy or you weren’t. And so she would say “Daddy, are you happy? Mommy, are you happy? Are you happy?” And happy with her. That was a reaffirming thing. It was: did I do good? Is everything good? Everything is okay? Are you happy? Are you not happy? And so after you hear that a thousand times in a day from a two-year-old, you really start thinking: hey, am I happy with this? Am I happy? I don’t know. And I started to think about the business. And it’s like, am I happy with what we’re doing? And I kind of came to terms with, I’m happy with the business that we’ve built. We’ve done a lot of things really well, but I’m not happy with the quality that we’re doing on some things. I’m not happy with going out and trying to get new recurring or new projects to kind of feed the beast that you’ve built, right? You’ve got to keep making payroll. You’ve got to keep doing it. And it’s a feast or famine cycle and so if I had to start back at square one, I would have built something happier and something that, at least for me, makes life a little bit better. We found that by simplifying, cutting out the things that we weren’t as good at and then building a product tie service that has monthly recurring plans. I would have done that sooner. And you see it with (inaudible 38:51) businesses and then there there’s a science and an art to growing one of those and building one of those and creating multiple income streams as you do that. I would have done that sooner and probably gotten out of the consulting, or agency side of the business so that’s probably one thing. If I was starting over at square one, I would have just said: hey, let’s build a recurring business.

[39:25] The other thing that I probably would have done, we have for four years, as GoWP, we focus so heavily on our quality of work and on the dev side, the technical side of the business. If I was doing things over again today or doing things over, I would probably get some help on the marketing, the sales and the customer success side. The non dev functions a little bit sooner. I’m really excited that that’s where we are now. We’re building that growth team. It’s been fun and I’m really excited that we have the opportunity to focus on that, but in many ways, we were very skewed towards… because we wanted to make sure that the quality was unparalleled and we’ve learned a lot in that. But I think we also could have had some support on the other side of the business. So that’s a second thing.

[40:27] And then really the third is I would have focused on the hiring pipeline and how to bring great employees in quicker and more efficiently than we’ve done in the past. There have been times where we’ve done a really poor job just on the HR business function and I think we’ve gotten better over time and it would have been really nice, but it’s a learning curve.

[41:02] So all of these things, these three items, I think maybe we had to go through what we’ve gone through and it’s really been a fun ride. But I feel like we could even be even further ahead if we had done this from the beginning. So, on the hiring side, one thing that we’ve done now is we’ve got automated online assessments, online interviews, some things that people can do in that pipeline without taking the time of the leadership on our side, so that we know that when we do schedule a face to face, we’ve got someone who is very qualified for the open position. Those would be the three things that I would do differently.

Micah: [41:48] Nice. Yeah. I think the hiring aspect, I had to learn that as well. In the sense that a lot of times when you’re trying to hire a technical person, it takes a technical person to find that person. So I was that technical person trying to find people for a while and realizing that when you put the news out and you get a landslide of responses, you need a system.

Brad: [42:18] That’s right. Yeah. You probably found this too; it seems like every hire, because we’re small and growing, but every hire we make is a critical hire. It’s important to us. And even in the agency days after we hired Lucas and we’re adding developer number two, three and four, it’s one weak link there on the dev side, if we were working on a project and it goes south, it can have a huge negative impact on the business. It’s just so critical and we have not always done that well.

Aaron: [43:04] And I also like the fact that you actually used the term “productized services”. I think a lot of people don’t realize the spectrum, I guess, between services and products. I hear a lot of people talking about, “Oh, I’m doing service-based business and I want to start getting into products.” But like you hinted at maybe we had to go through what we had to go through to get where we are now, I feel like in order to make those transitions, you kind of have to go through some of these things and I think productized services, it’s in between product and in between service, but it allows you to scale and do some good things. So I always like to hear that.

Brad: [43:54] Yeah, and if you’re building something, if you’re putting all your effort into one thing that takes multiple users, that’s a product. If you’re spending time to fix a plugin conflict, that’s a service, and so with us, our maintenance and support, there are real people involved and you’re only as good as your people, right? And so that’s a huge focus. It’s easier to exclude the people if you say, “Hey, we’re building a product. The people don’t really matter. We’re just plugging that in and improving our product.” Whereas with us, if you think of it as a product, the product is the service that our people are providing.

Micah: [44:44] Awesome.

Aaron: [44:44] Makes sense. Well thank you for your time. I know you have probably a lot of support tickets you probably need to get to, so I appreciate your time.

Brad: [44:57] If you guys want to help out (inaudible 44:59).

Aaron: [44:59] Maybe I will some day. Thanks again.

Brad: [45:06] Well, thank you all for having me. Really appreciate it. It’s been fun and I’m excited to

Leave a Comment