Prioritizing Features and Yourself: An Conversation with Danielle Simpson, Co-Founder of Feedback Panda

Danielle Simpson, co-founder of Feedback Panda, joins Colleen and Michele for a conversation about Feedback Panda's ingenious prioritization system, the psychological side of selling your company, and figuring out what to do after selling.
Michele Hansen  0:00 
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Colleen Schnettler  0:55 
We are super excited to have a guest on today's podcast. We are joined today by Danielle Simpson, the co-founder of Feedback Panda.

Danielle Simpson
Hi, Colleen. Hi, Michelle.

Michele Hansen  1:07 
Hey, Danielle, I am so excited to have you on today.

Danielle Simpson  1:11 
Thank you for having me.

Michele Hansen  1:13 
So, so excited. So I want to give a quick background on you. And then we're gonna dive right in.

So Danielle is the co-founder of Feedback Panda. And how this came about is Danielle is a classically trained opera singer, who moved to Berlin. And while she was singing, she started teaching English online. And part of that process for teaching the students is to provide them with feedback. And her she and her partner Arvid Kahl who many of you probably know from Twitter, figured out that the process for this feedback could be much more efficient. And there was actually a software solution in here to make that easier for teachers. And so they launched feedback panda together. And then they sold feedback panda in 2019. And so I am so excited to have you here, Danielle, because I feel like there's so much for us to learn from from you. And just so many different points, whether that's, you know, starting a company based on your own needs, scaling that company, figuring out what other people need, even you know, selling that company, and then what do you do after selling that company? There's so much in your story that I think really resonates with people. And so I'm so excited to hear your perspective on everything.

Danielle Simpson  2:38 
Thanks. Yeah, it's my privilege to be here and to share it with you.

Michele Hansen  2:44 
So my first question, you started Feedback Panda based on your own needs. And this is a recurring theme of our show, it's where Geocodio came from. It's where Colleen's Simple File Upload came from. It's where a lot of great bootstraped companies come from. And in those early days, it can be really hard to prioritize your different needs. And when you're solving something for yourself, you know, there's a million things that could be done. And so I'm really curious to hear more like, like, when you first started it, how did you even figure out what you should work on and what you should work on next?

Danielle Simpson  3:22 
So thank you so much for asking this question. Because it's definitely, you know, if you didn't bring it up, this was something I really wanted to share, about how we prioritized work. In the beginning, it was really easy to divide the different work because Arvid was the programmer and, you know, I would have the ideas, I have the knowledge about what the teachers need, what I needed. So I could tell him what to build. And then he would build it. And then so we work super closely. In this kind of like feedback loop where he would build something, I would test it out, I would give him feedback. He iterate on that. And so before we had customers -- super easy, super easy to just kind of build a prototype of a product.

And then about a year, no, sorry, about four months in when we actually had customers. And before this, like adrenaline of something needs to be done and you just are like on autopilot, you just figure out a way to do it. We actually made this pretty expansive chart of 52 roles that we thought our company had. We're a company of two, but we got really specific about different departments, different positions in each department. And then what job what responsibilities each of those, call them people or positions had. So whenever we were kind of stuck for, okay, there's a million things that need to be done today, but what role hasn't seen some attention from us? Or what role kind of gets forgotten about because there's customer service is always something that's like super prominent, because it's actually somebody on the other line that's wanting your attention. But so in that kind of part of the company for, you know, customer experience and customer success, of course, the person on the desk is getting a lot of attention. But what about, you know, who's building the knowledge base? Is that getting a priority, and then, you know, that's going to help the person on the customer desk. And so we got super specific on these different roles. And also, who was going to be responsible for them, which was important that Arvid knew what he was responsible for, I knew what my responsibilities were.

And, and so I think part of the the issue with priority is that we don't always know what the work is, we don't always have this clear understanding of what is this role? And I know, I need to work on marketing, but like, what does that mean? I don't know. So, getting really specific about what the marketing role is, or, you know, the content writer, or all of these different, who's posting to Instagram, all of these different little jobs, even, we're little roles that our company had. So we were very, we had a very clear picture, visually, to consult to when things were getting a bit overwhelming, then we could just look at this and see what needed to be done.

Michele Hansen  6:47 
That's so fascinating. I've never heard of anyone doing that for a two person company. I mean, it's it's ingenious, and, and it sounds like as much as it is defining what the roles and tasks are. Because I think that's a challenge I definitely face into a lot of other people. face too is, you know, figuring out what even needs to be done. And you're also defining what that role isn't, right, like you defined 52 roles, but not 100 roles, like -- there you are, you're scoping the company itself. It's, it sounds like, not just tasks.

Danielle Simpson  7:27 
Absolutely. And then this also became kind of the the structure of who do we want our first hires to be? You know, this role is taking up so much of our time, is it time to bring somebody in, of course, long story short, we never ended up hiring anyone. But you know, we had that layout that structure so that we knew where we could possibly, you know, substitute ourselves out and put someone else in.

Michele Hansen  7:57 
That makes a ton of sense.

Colleen Schnettler  8:00 
So when you guys were this far along, were you both full time by this point?

Danielle Simpson  8:05 
Not quite. So we did this for months after launching this big, you know, 52 person company, chart, but we went full time. I guess it was about 10 months, 10 months in. Let me just check my math. Yeah, it was about 10 months in when Arvid quit his job. And I, I had been scaling back on my own teaching, I was still teaching. But then in February of 2018, was when I taught my last class.

Colleen Schnettler  8:41 
So you guys, were still working other jobs and running your company. While you were trying to prioritize these kind of 52 roles within your company? That sounds like a lot.

Danielle Simpson  8:55 
Yeah, I mean, 52 roles sounds like a lot, of course. But, but I really think that once you actually have clarity on something, and like that's sometimes half the work is just understanding what the work is. So once we could really be agreed. So once we could really be intentional about the time that we had to spend on feedback Panda, then I felt that it was pretty clear. You knew Wednesday, we're spending time on Feedback Panda, then what job you were supposed to be doing.

Colleen Schnettler  9:35 
Yeah, I love that because you don't spend a ton of time spinning your wheels in this. You know, I'm like way in the beginning of this process. And I have a list of what feels like hundreds of things to do. And the problem is like without a focus on what is this, to your point, what is marketing mean? Like, what path, what bandwidth? Do I have to go down that path and how do I do it? It's kind of like all over the place. So I kind of I've really actually love this idea of defining the work and defining the roles really specifically.

Danielle Simpson  10:06 
And I should clarify, there were a few roles that we both said, I don't want anything to do with this. Like, I didn't want to have to do anything tax reporting. I love bookkeeping. I didn't, I didn't want to, you know, be responsible for anything to do with the government or the FinanzAmt is what it's called in here in Germany, I, you know, really wanted to avoid that. Arvid is also very happy to let somebody else do that. So that was a position in our company, we said, but really, it was just our tax advisor had working for us. And then, and then also, bloggers, were one of the first people that we contracted to do things for us, because I wanted to have some content on on the website wanted to have a blog. But I find the whole process of writing quite laborious. So that was something I was happy to have other people to do.

Michele Hansen  11:10 
You mentioned a couple of times how you would talk to the teacher community. And you would talk to them on these different formats, whether that was Instagram or other places, and people talk a lot about choosing an audience. Actually, I think Arvid talks about this quite a bit on Twitter and might be writing a second book on this, if I'm not mistaken.

Danielle Simpson 11:31 
That's right -- Audience First, coming to you, we'll see.

Michele Hansen  11:38 
And I think what's so interesting to this, to me is that, you know, you didn't really choose an audience, you you were the audience and, and so I love this idea. Because, you know, we talk a lot about about using customer empathy, and you had a how do we use empathy for our customers and translate that into priorities and tasks and a successful business. And most of us naturally have at least some amount of empathy for ourselves. And so it's, you know, it's sort of straightforward to translate that into other people who are in a similar situation as ourselves. And it sounds like you were in that situation, being so close to the English teacher community online.

Danielle Simpson  12:25 
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, also has to be said that Arvid was seeing this as well, through my work. Even as a child, though, I remember looking at teaching as a profession, and thinking, wow, these are people who put their heart and soul into their work, and they will do anything at any hour to help their students succeed. So immediately, I felt when, you know, I had the idea that this could be something that could be shared to help other teachers, it felt like something we were compelled to do, like, a way I really wanted to help an audience, you know, quote, unquote, that was quite underserved, and sometimes undervalued.

Michele Hansen  13:22 
I love how you mentioned that Arvid saw this too. And I think this is such a critical point. Because developers need to be near the user, they need to be able to interact with the user and understand them. Not just as a user, but as a person. And you know, Colleen, you've talked about how, in your college engineering classes, there was not a lot of focus put on understanding the user and building empathy for the user. And even still, there's so many companies that really, they either hesitate to put developers in front of users, or they just think it's a waste of a developer's time. But it's not. It's so incredibly powerful when you can get the person who is using a product in the same room with the developer. And can you just talk a little bit more about that? Like, what like, what was the experience like for you seeing him learn about your community?

Danielle Simpson  14:24 
Yeah, so I think, of course, it started with me, being the first to us are the first customer of our product. But Arvid was also heavily involved with the customer service and having conversations with people we had. At the very beginning, we used a small chat tool on the website, and then eventually changed it over to Intercom. But we always had this direct line where we could talk to users who were on the app. And so at the beginning, it was mostly me leading through that leading them through just, this is my idea for what we have to offer you. You know, how does it match up with, you know, what you think we're offering this kind of conversations, but also, those were kind of sales conversations as well, you know, like, having, explaining what we were offering. And so I think he learned a lot of how to communicate with our customers through those original conversations that I was having. But then he just jumped right in and, you know, had lots of conversations with teachers as well. And yeah, I mean, part of it is just who he is, I think that it came very natural to him. So it's hard for me to kind of like, pinpoint what he was doing. But I think definitely having that direct line of communication on the website, where if there was something that teachers needed, a lot of feature requests would come in there. And, you know, we would both have those conversations, one on one, you know, with whoever was talking to us, but then we would come together and talk about them together. So he was very much a part of the community and the teachers just adored him. Because they were not far from a magician who could just make you know, their wishes come true. And help them with their teaching.

Colleen Schnettler  16:40 
I love this, because I feel like, just from this conversation we're having now, you were driven to create this product, like as altruism, because you really felt like it would it would help these people and improve their lives. And I feel like in the in engineering, and in development, sometimes we're taught, not explicitly taught, but kind of internalize it. Like, that's not how you make money, right? Like there's this focus of you make money this way. These are two different things. And I just love when someone can build a product that enriches people's lives and makes money makes me really happy.

Michele Hansen  17:16 
Yes. Yeah. Like it just, it's that whole, like, yeah, it's the whole Conscious Capitalism thing. Like I think I, like you mentioned on episodes ago, the Lapsed Anarchist's Guide to Building a Great Business, which is one of my favorite business books, but it, it also hammers down that point of like, you can approach business, from an altruistic perspective from a perspective of helping people rather than, you know, exploiting them and taking as much money from them as possible, like, you can run a business that that helps people and provides a living for you. And those two things can work together.

Danielle Simpson  17:53 
Absolutely. Yeah. And I mean, it was also such a wonderful thing to have this direct conversation with customers with people who have to think about all of the subscription fees that Arvid refunded, or, you know, just gave grace periods for because people were having trouble making ends meet or, you know, were waiting on a support paycheck, or whatever it was he he really was about a human approach. It wasn't just numbers. And yet the bottom lines. It was always about serving another human being.

Michele Hansen  18:41 
A human approach to business.

Colleen Schnettler  18:45 
So I have a question about the early days, you were your first customer. And so it sounds like the two of you were really able to create a product you knew would be would well serve these teachers. Did you have any trouble finding customers? Or did you find that the teachers were so excited about it, they just kind of showed up out of the woodwork.

Danielle Simpson   19:04 
That's a nice image. It really was that way. You know, I had been there was multiple communities on Facebook, or, you know, in private spaces that the company hosted, where people were having problems, just keeping up with the number of students, the number of reports that we had to do, and developing systems to deal with this extra work that we had. So I was observing these different communities and how people communicated and you know, just the dynamic in them. So when it came time that we were ready to actually share the product. I just went to the communities and shared that we had a product that could help them with some of these issues that you know, they were looking for solutions for their already looking for solutions. So it was quite welcome when I presented one.

Michele Hansen  20:06 
I want to go back to something you said a couple of minutes ago, you said when you were talking to customers, especially new customers who might be coming to you from from one of these groups, that you would say something to the effect of, you know, "Here's what we think we do, does that match what you think we do?" And this struck me because it sounds like something that Colleen is going through right now. And I'm curious to hear you say a little bit more about that. And, and, and, and how those, you know, would that match up? Or would people think you were doing things differently? And how would that change your thinking about what your product did for people.

Danielle Simpson  20:45 
Um, so I have to say that I was quite confident in my solution, I was quite like, I was confident that what I'd built worked for me, so there would be others like me. I wasn't so in this really beginning phase where I was trying to build something that maybe like the mass wanted, of course, this is always a really good idea. I don't want to dig myself into any holes here, because this is really important. But it was also just about, like, getting this idea bank for, okay, what kind of features we might want to add on in the future, or, you know, are people thinking about our product this way, because this is the only thing that exists for them yet. And now I can just like, blow their minds with the new wave of doing something. So that's a little bit. I won't judge myself there. But I think that's pretty confident in what we built.

Yeah, so what was really interesting from those conversations was the features that we hadn't built. And yet, most of the teachers really liked what we were offering. And I was also pretty, like non-offended. If it wasn't what they thought it should be. I understand like, there's so many different human beings, we're all so different, if this isn't how you visualize feedback, your workflow, whatever, it is totally fine with me. But there was some really golden ideas that came from early conversations, and also staying involved in Facebook groups, where people were talking about our product, saying, I learned a lot just from kind of being a fly on the wall. I think that can also be super useful. And one of the features that teachers kind of expected to be a part of our product was template sharing, feedback template sharing among teachers. Because this was something that existed in like a Google Sheet, and where people would just put in different templates that they had for different courses. So they kind of were hoping that would be a part of Feedback Panda's offering. And this was like, a no brainer, just with this stickiness of template database, if you can, up the whatever you're offering. Yeah, there was like a variable reward part of the business there, where people could change other templates. And so this was a really, really great feature that neither Arvid nor I had thought of that came from observing community, talking to teachers, getting their feedback about, like, how they might want it implemented, and building it quite quickly. I mean, like I said, the teacher thought Arvid was a wizard, and that's because he built up this feature, you know, in a month. This is like template database is what we call it.

Michele Hansen  24:05 
I love how that, you know, came from the conversations with the customers. And it wasn't something that you guys, you know, had ever really occurred to you. But then as you said, it was something that not only helped the teachers, but made your product stickier, and to what we were just saying, you know, that is something that had both an altruistic end result, and also one that helped your business and made your product stickier for them because it was more valuable to them.

Danielle Simpson   24:32 

Michele Hansen  24:34 
I want to fast forward a little bit. So you guys sold the company in 2019. And I guess can you can you take us back there? Had you guys you intended to sell the company?

Danielle Simpson  24:54 
I think it was always kind of an option in the back of our minds. But You know, we were two years in, we weren't really thinking about selling at that point. But we did build systems in the company that made sense to keep running it and, you know, made it efficient for us to stay a small team and keep running it. And this also happens to be what makes it very attractive to potential acquirers. So. So yeah, I think it was always an option for us, like the door was open pretty well, but but we didn't, we weren't looking for for acquires or anything like that, at this point.

Michele Hansen  25:43 
And, you know, given your close connection to the community, and how you had come out of the community, you know, I think people think about selling their company, and they probably think more, you know, about the paycheck that comes, but not so the other things that that come out of that. And I'm curious how if you can say more about how that impacted how you perceived your role in this community and to your users.

Danielle Simpson   26:16 
So I was -- both Arvid, and myself, had kind of become almost like rockstars in this ESL community, because this is a community of entrepreneurial teachers. So our success is also very inspirational to them and showing them what they could possibly do. A lot of teachers had Teachers Pay Teachers shops, a lot of people were referring a lot of other teachers to these platforms. So these are really cool group of teachers, very entrepreneurial. So when we sold after we sold it, I kind of, or I shouldn't say kind of -- I very much felt disconnected with this community suddenly, because I didn't feel like I could engage with them in the same way. I always was engaging with them as the representative from Feedback Panda. And I was careful. Going back to your previous question about whether we had thought about selling, I was always careful not to build too much of a brand around myself, as the founder of Feedback Panda, because I thought that would make it just more difficult to transition the company if I wasn't the CEO of the company anymore. So I was still hesitant of that. But it still happened, because it's just such a wonderful inspiring story to build to have a teacher, a fellow teacher built this company. So after we sold, I did feel like I lost that. That authentic way to engage with them, because I didn't really feel like, like I could, I didn't feel like one of them anymore.

Michele Hansen  28:18 
That makes a lot of sense. And it sounds like that was really hard for you.

Danielle Simpson   28:23 
Yeah, it was hard. Not the rock star part. But I think the hard part was so much of what we woke up and did every day, brought so much value to other people's lives. It was so gratifying. And it was very clear how we were helping people. You know, still people would, you know, two years and people would have just discovered Feedback Panda, go to a Facebook group or write to us directly on Intercom and just thank us. So, you know, teachers, we had wonderful, wonderful customers and very grateful customers. So I wasn't really prepared for how much I would mourn that, that just clear purpose. Just you know, how you're helping people in the world today. And it feels good.

So after selling the company, even though I had read, you know, many the few blog posts, actually that there are for bootstrapped companies that have sold and, and reading about people's experiences through through the sale and afterward, you know, you kind of see, okay, yeah, there's gonna be maybe this dip. So I, I'll be prepared, because I know that's coming. This little dip where you're not really sure what to do. And of course, it helps if you know what you're going to do next. But even though I kind of knew it was coming, it's still hit pretty hard, I did fall into this melancholy, I would call it, it's just where you're not quite sure what you're going to do next. And that kind of purpose for what was so clear, you know, every day when you were waking up to do to do good in the world, it kind of went away. So. So that was that was strong. Last year, I would say.

Colleen Schnettler  30:32 
It's interesting, because I think what you have achieved is the goal of a lot of founders. But the more founders I talked to who have actually successfully exited, share similar feelings as yours is, it's they, they had so much purpose. And they exited in a way they wanted to, but it's not like life is suddenly perfect. It's it's your starting over. And what do you do now? And it's just really interesting to hear that, because there's so much, you know, rainbows and sunshine surrounding most people, most of these people's stories, like most people just want to tell you the good parts. And you don't hear a lot about, like everything else that comes with that.

Danielle Simpson  31:14 
And yeah, absolutely, I think there was also a lot of celebrations and feeling proud of ourselves. And, of course, there was, yeah, just a feeling of accomplishment. And, like, we had left something good in the world, even though we weren't, you know, steering the ship anymore. It, it was also it was kind of like this, where you kind of oscillate in between different states where you're just you can't believe this happened. And then you're very proud. And then you're like, Oh, my gosh, what am I going to do next? What, what am I going to do? Well, I'm not doing anything kind of feelings. But I still do, even though this really intense melancholy came, I still feel that it was the right decision. And I know we sold for the right decision for the right reasons as well. Because I, I even though I loved helping the teachers, it felt like that phase was done for me. Like I was ready to move on to something else. But I also just think I'd look back at other experiences I've had, whether it was coming off of a show run, you know, doing recitals or doing shows, and you have all of this excitement, and all of these positive emotions that are associated with this performance. And then after the performance is over, then you go through this like a lull, it's like you really go on the other side of the wave. And so it makes total sense now, looking, you know, hindsight. And I think the bigger and more gratifying our experiences are, maybe the more intense that wave on the bottom end is going to be, but it also comes back up again. And and that's what I keep feeling like now, I'm, I'm in the building stage, I'm in the Okay, I'm clearing out any blocks, anything that's gonna hold me back next time, all the things that I've learned from running Feedback Panda. And I'm, like, riding the wave up again.

So sometimes I feel when we're in that low, we're scared that it might last forever. Or we're scared that it's just got us and it's gonna hold us down. But, yeah, I think there's work that we can do. And you know, we see the other side coming out.

Michele Hansen  34:15 
I just love the way you put that and how you put that in perspective of other experiences. Like it's really beautiful how you phrase that.

And, you know, you're reminding me of something one of our previous guests, Alex Hillman said a couple of months ago, he tweeted out: "Almost every person I've ever met who sold their company needs therapy. That's not snark. I genuinely believe it should be part of the package. Money doesn't overwrite the grief that comes out of founder exits."

Danielle Simpson  34:46 
Absolutely. Where is this? I need to put that somewhere where I can remind myself.

Michele Hansen  34:53 
I'll l put a link to it in the show notes.

Danielle Simpson 34:55 
That's so wonderful. And I think I really appreciate hearing somebody else sharing that experience, because a lot of what keeps us down in that low point is also just shaming ourselves for having these negative feelings out of something so positive. So yeah, there's liberation and knowing that other people have been there before.

Michele Hansen  35:22 
Absolutely. And you talked about how you feel like you're on the other side of that curve now. And so I am curious, what's next?

Danielle Simpson  35:33 
I don't really know. That's something I'm getting more comfortable saying, Yeah, I I'm doing the work is what I say I'm doing the work, which means making a practice of things that are important to me. And clearing away this kind of negative voice that tells you that you're not enough or that what you want to work on isn't really worthy of your time. So unlike, in other years, I'm actually approaching this kind of work. Getting to know myself, getting creative. I'm approaching this like I would like, as a college course, or as starting a company, you know, diligently with routine with a schedule making that big priority for me, because I think in this past year, where I did feel lost, I kind of wanted to skip this phase, where you skip to the "I already have a product, I already know what I want to work on. Okay, let's get talking to people and start building something." But actually, the work that comes before that is really important. And that's kind of where the magic happens, where you can actually come up with whatever it's going to be, and I'm not sure really what that looks like, if it looks like another SaaS or it looks like putting out an album or you know, like, painting, I'm a terrible painter would never be painting. Whatever that could look like. I'm really saying that that has value, that doing that kind of work, getting to know myself. And what I want to do next is is a value and I'm not sure how long this phase will last. But I think it's an important one.

Michele Hansen  37:48 
I admire you for sitting in your discomfort and rather than running away from it, you're exploring it and seeing what it has to teach you and and in that discomfort. You're seeing so much confidence in you and how you talk about that and how this this period for you, even though you don't know what is what's going to come, what strikes me is those outcomes you talked about as possibilities. All of those are run by you. You have a founders perspective now. You you know that you can do it, you know that you can run a company or launch an album, which I'm sure is just as complicated and time consuming as launching a company is.

Danielle Simpson  38:33 
Oh, absolutely.

Michele Hansen  38:35 
You believe you can do it now. And you're you know, we talked about how Colleen for a long time was looking for a product to build. And I think we described that on more than one occasion as sort of wandering through the woods and Colleen finally emerging from the woods and having a product and but you're not wandering, you're just sort of sitting there meditating in the woods and just allowing yourself to be consumed by that. But knowing that when you leave, you will not just be walking out, you will be leading your own way out and building your own future and not being reliant on other people for that. And that's just incredible and so admirable.

Danielle Simpson  39:19 
Thank you. Thanks. I think that kind of stillness, I guess I could call it too. I like this idea of just meditating in the woods. It takes a lot of trust, to trust that there will be something if I put in the work, if I put in the hours, then something will emerge. And so yeah, I think it's about trust.

Colleen Schnettler  39:53 
Can I ask what does that actually look like? Like I don't know how to sit in discomfort very well. So like, what would you say? Like put in the act like what are you actually doing?

Danielle Simpson  40:04 
Um, so I have lots of quirky habits, that, that I think are quite meaningful and actually help. A lot of the work is like clearing away the BS, the BS, like voice in our head that tells us that we can't do what we want to do. And some people it's like, really strong and other people, you know, it's like very small, and so they don't really have to do that much work. But for me, it's like setting healthy routines. waking up every morning and I, I do this practice called Morning Pages. It's actually just like stream of consciousness writing. And that, okay, helps clear away. Negative voices that can cut sometimes inhibit you. And so I do that every morning, I have a yoga practice that is very important. I noticed when I don't do it, it's always when you haven't done the different practices that you start to notice. But then it's also about not waiting until you feel inspired to actually create something like, Oh, I have a great product idea. Let's start. I don't know, what's the first thing we do buy a domain or like, check Instagram to see if the handle is available. But actually, just like, I don't know, if you're a writer, just sit down in front of a computer and write something every day, if you want to make an album sit at your piano or whatever, in front of the computer, and like, just dedicate time to actually doing those things. And then I think, if you create that practice of already creating then, then you create the space to become inspired. Right? It's not waiting for the inspiration, and then I'll do the work. It's I'm going to, I'm going to do the work. And then maybe I'll be inspired in the middle of it. So I'm thinking about like a lot of creative work, like designing things like this, like don't wait for a job, just start building your portfolio, and then maybe a job will come from that or, you know, yeah, I think I think there's many different ways. It's just like the artistic ones that are coming to mind.

Michele Hansen  42:39 
Colleen, that reminds me of when you like decided that you were going to be serious about trying to build your own company and get out of consulting. You designated one day a week for your side projects. And you didn't necessarily know what those projects were going to be. But you're like Friday is my day. And that's the day that stuff is going to happen.

Colleen Schnettler  43:01 
Yeah, absolutely. And it made a huge difference. And, you know, this, this first product came out of something that I wanted myself, and I still don't know if it's gonna work out if anyone else wants it. But I think to your point, Danielle, like, I did something and that was better. I'm someone who's gets stuck reading and reading about how to do things like I just read about how to do them. But sometimes it's hard for me to pull out from like just reading to actually doing so once I dedicated more time to just doing and tried to set aside some of my perfectionism tendencies. I made a lot more progress.

Danielle Simpson

Colleen Schnettler
What you said about like self and self worth really touched a chord in me I have a post it I keep on my desk that says everything you want is on the other side of fear. And like, I just really struggle with like letting go of the BS, like you were just saying, and it's just weird. Like, sometimes I think for me my inability to get out of my own way. So I love this this concept of like making space and kind of sitting in that discomfort to sort it out.

Danielle Simpson  44:09 
I love that. That's a great Post It, and it's nice if you have these little things that you can be helpful reminders to keep them close, keep them in a space where they remind you or inspire you.

Michele Hansen  44:27 
You know what you said about the post it note? Was it everything you want is on the other side of fear is that right?

Colleen Schnettler  44:33 
That's right. That's what I wrote.

Michele Hansen  44:34 
I love that I think there's there's people have so much fear I have so much fear and and you know to what Danielle is doing in such an amazing way of sitting with the discomfort and allowing it to be there. I think if we allow the fear to be there, that what we've built isn't good enough or that a competitor is just going to come in and crush us and all of this will be for nothing or whatever that is, we have to face it rather than because if we run from it we we haven't built anything.

Colleen Schnettler
I love that, it's such a hard but important lesson to learn.

Michele Hansen
Danielle, it was so amazing having you with us today. If people want to hear more about the story of Feedback Panda, your partner, Arvid Kahl wrote a book called Zero to Sold. He's also writing a new book called Audience First. But you are on Twitter as well. And we will put a link in the show notes to your Twitter account.

Danielle Simpson 45:34 
Awesome. Yeah, I'm at SimpsonDaniK, da and IK on Twitter, and Instagram. Thank you so much for having me. It's been such a privilege and a pleasure to speak with you both.

Colleen Schnettler  45:47  
That's gonna wrap up this week's episode of the Software Social podcast. If you enjoyed our podcast, we would love it if you would leave us a review. You can also find us on Twitter at @softwaresocpod.

Creators and Guests

Colleen Schnettler
Colleen Schnettler
Co-Founder of Refine, Founder of Simple File Upload
Michele Hansen
Michele Hansen
Co-Founder of Geocodio & Author of Deploy Empathy
2022, Software Social