Decisions, Decisions

Colleen is considering adding a new project and Michele and Colleen talk it through.

Buy Michele's book!

Michele Hansen  0:00 
Hey, welcome back to Software Social. This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Noko. When you're bootstrapping on the side, every free moment counts. But do you really know how you're spending those moments? Which days you're most productive? If your product has time sings that just don't pay. Here's one way to find out. Noko is a time tracker designed to help you learn from the time you track. And Noko makes it frictionless to give yourself good data to you can even log time directly from your GitHub commit messages. Try Noko today and save 15% off every plan forever. Visit to start making your time work for you.

Colleen Schnettler  0:50  
So Michele, I went to purchase your book yesterday on Amazon. And I saw that it is the number one new release in business books.

Michele Hansen  1:04  
Is this research and development. But yes. And I The crazy thing is is you were the first person to notice like I didn't know that until you tweeted.

Colleen Schnettler  1:15  
Yes, that makes me so happy. So I was gonna text you but like my number one Google searches What time is it in Denmark? It was like 4am or something. So I was like, Okay, I'll just tweet about it. And she'll see it when she wakes up.

Michele Hansen  1:29  
Thanks. I remember seeing that. And I was like, oh my god. Um, yeah, that was really, really, really unexpected. It's been, it's been such a week.

Colleen Schnettler  1:42  
Yeah. So how many copies Have you sold? Okay, so

Michele Hansen  1:46  
on Amazon, including paperback and Kindle 47. And then I also closed the pre sale on Monday. And so that was 127 copies there. Wow.

Colleen Schnettler  2:07  
Yeah, that's a lot.

Michele Hansen  2:09  
Yeah. So yeah, like over 150. which feels, which feels pretty good.

Colleen Schnettler  2:16  
Um, and,

Michele Hansen  2:20  
but, yeah, I mean, and it's kind of fun seeing the orders from around the world, like, you know, like us, Germany, Japan, UK, Canada, Australia. Like, I mean, I know, there's a lot of places where Amazon isn't. And I don't have that data for the PDF version out in Brazil, too. But, you know, I mean, this. I feel like this whole book was, like people from around the world, most of whom I have never met and had never met before. were part of making this book happen of encouraging it and sharing the newsletters and replying to them and sharing their own stories with me about their experiences with talking to customers and what they've struggled with and what's worked for them. And I'm just, I'm just so moved. Like, it's just, yeah, it's been. It's been quite a week.

Colleen Schnettler  3:21  
Yeah, that's wonderful. I'm so happy for you. And I'm happy the launch has gone so well.

Michele Hansen  3:27  
Yeah, and I think it's not like a like a sort of a big bang launch. here because it is kind of summer and you know, things are moving a little slowly. And also doesn't, doesn't have to be it'd be a huge thing. But so right now, kind of focusing on trying to get reviews of the book on Amazon before I tried to do a Product Hunt launch. I think that's kind of like, I feel like good right now with like launching it with the people who have been along for the journey and supporting it. And, you know, someone actually sent me some like, little, like, formatting quirks they noticed in their version. And so I kind of want to get those ironed out. Before you know, bring the book to people who may not be so understanding of, you know, yeah, seeing that. Some stray formatting or whatnot. Um, yeah. Yeah.

Colleen Schnettler  4:27  
Does Amazon have analytics built in to their book publishing platform? Because you mentioned you could see where people were coming from?

Michele Hansen  4:34  
Yeah, actually, I can pull it up right now. So the whole that the KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing is what they call it. They have this little dashboard, so I can see that. Um, so yeah, there's been orders from US, UK, Germany, Japan, and Canada, and Brazil. And it tells me like, what day they're ordered on and then also the Kindle reading percentage. Which I guess they use to determine the quality of the book. So like when you did on a Kindle, Amazon is kind of creepily like tracking that and basically, you know, but like, basically people buy this book, and then they read 10 pages of it, and then they don't ever open it again. Amazon takes that as a signal about the quality of the book. Oh, yeah, I mean, so maybe like, people buy it just to like, have it just in case. But so but it can show me for example, that super creeped out by that,

Colleen Schnettler  5:31  
by the way, like gender weird. And

Michele Hansen  5:35  
65 pages have been read. Total. And then I think it can also show me like the there's been 24 pages read today.

Colleen Schnettler  5:47  
So Wow, that's wild. I didn't know that.

Michele Hansen  5:51  
I feel a little so.

Colleen Schnettler  5:52  
Yeah, a little bit. So tell me about the feedback you've been getting from people have a lot of people have been reaching out to you to tell you, you know, give you feedback on their experiences with the book.

Michele Hansen  6:01  
Yeah, people have been so nice. Um, as I mentioned, a bunch of people were posting reviews, but I feel like you need more before I launch it on product times are kind of go on some big podcasts to promote it. Because like those people, they don't know me, they haven't been listening. They haven't been following along. Like, why the, you know, why the heck should they care who I am and what I wrote about, right. So, um, so yeah, people have been just so generous with their time and their energy of helping to get the word out about the book. And any, I've gotten nice emails from people, it's actually been kind of funny to get texts from my friends about it, because I haven't really talked about it much with like, my friends and family because it's not relevant to most of them. Like, I feel like, you know, I feel like I describe it. And I'm like, well, it's like, super nice. It's like how to, like, create software products and sell them and stuff like that. And Mathias is always like, no, everybody should have this book. It's so relevant. Everyone, like, you know, I there's like this little like group of like real estate agents in Canada who are really excited about it, for example. Um, and, um, but so like, even just getting texts from friends of mine, who I haven't really talked to about, it has been such a nice surprise, like, one of my friends sent me a picture of her two year old son flipping through it when it arrived. And apparently, he loves the duck on the cover. Totally warms my heart. But actually, oh, negative, um, there was somebody who tweeted something negative at me, like, what was it? They're like, like my first tweet, where I like tweeted out about how it was available on Amazon, this person that doesn't follow me, and I don't follow and tweeted that. They replied to me, and they said, aka manipulation for Dummies. And I like looked at it. I was like, really? Like, you come to like, somebody's like celebration of this, and you show up with negativity like that. And then I thought they made the wise decision and deleted it. So. Okay, um, yeah, it was like a little is a little weird. And I mean, it hasn't weighed on me too much. And I think it is a concern of mine. I have right that like, people will manipulate people with this. But I think like people who are manipulative, like, they have long figured out all of this and more, and they don't need an instruction manual. Like those people intuitively understand how to manipulate people and use it for their evil and they don't need instructions. So So mostly people have been, have been positive. And it's, yeah, it's, it's honestly gone. So much better than I ever could have hoped. And, really, it really never would have come to fruition. Never mind been like this, had I not done it in public and had it not started out, you know, as just a humble little newsletter. And, you know, I think if I had done the image I had in my head of what a writer does, which is sort of disappear into a cave for a year and not speak to anyone or, you know, like, see sunlight for that period of time. And then emerge with this, you know, glowing tablets of wisdom or whatever, like, I never would have published it. And I also don't think it would be getting received like this. And so I'm just, I feel like I keep repeating myself, but I'm just so grateful for how supportive people have been and how so many people around the world have contributed to this. Whether it was you know, leaving anonymous comments on those early drafts on help this book or You know, tweeting support or reading rough drafts, like, you know, reading reading copies of it, like writing reviews, like just all of that is just, it's it's really deeply moving. To me. That's wonderful. And your support to Coleen?

Colleen Schnettler  10:20  
I'm taking full credit. I've taken credit. I feel like this was my idea. I feel like when we started this podcast, I said, let me tell you how this is gonna end. Michelle's gonna write a book and I'm gonna launch a product. And here we are, we went to podcasting.

Michele Hansen  10:34  
Anyway, so speaking of that, I have to mention that today is the one year anniversary of our first episode.

Colleen Schnettler  10:45  
Oh my goodness, can you believe it's been a year?

Michele Hansen  10:47  
I can't. I cannot

Colleen Schnettler  10:50  
unrelated to this where we like recap everything that is so

Michele Hansen  10:59  
I just can't believe it.

I mean, it's, it feels like so long ago that we started with also doesn't feel like that long ago.

Colleen Schnettler  11:16  
Yeah, it doesn't feel like a year to me. I was kind of surprised when you mentioned that. I mean, we've come so far. I think we talked about it a little bit last week or the week before when I was kind of bemoaning how I feel like I'm moving really slowly. Um, but if you look at what you've accomplished over a year, like it's, it's really been significant.

Michele Hansen  11:39  
Yeah, and I mean, you know, talking about the book too, like Patrick McKenzie is talking about friend catchers of like, things that you do that, you know, get you get you friends, basically. And I feel like this podcast has been such an amazing friend Catcher in a year that has otherwise been quite lonely and difficult with the pandemic, to have this going on to not only like, sort of force us to keep talking to each other were like, just for like, we used to be basically neighbors and meet up at a local coffee shop. And then now we have a nine hour time difference between us like, we would not be talking this much like an actually talking and not just like texting had, like if we didn't have this podcast, and I'm grateful for that. And and I'm also so grateful for everyone who has kind of jumped on to this like weird little project of ours and and want to be a part of it. Yeah, yeah.

Colleen Schnettler  12:42  
It's cool. It's cool. Speaking of, I don't I haven't heard that term friend catcher's, but it made me think of something I wanted to talk to you about. So I have some friends who have a business, and I've been consulting for them for about six months. And yesterday, they offered to bring me in as a full partner. Oh, and I don't know what to do. I mean, I do know what I want to do. But it's it's like a lot. And I think that these kinds of opportunities. I knew these guys be independent of the podcast, but I definitely think like expanding my reach has helped bring more of these kinds of opportunities to my doorstep, which is really cool.

Michele Hansen  13:24  

Colleen Schnettler  13:25  
Yes. So so I don't know. So that's something I'm considering. If I go in with them, there'd be three of us, it'd be a company of three founders. They don't actually have a launched product yet. But they have they own the IP of something. They built at work that they want to spin off and turn into its own product.

Michele Hansen  13:44  
Is this like, an open source? Like, I know you're involved with a couple of things? I think I might know which one this is. But they have some like open source stuff going on? Is it that one?

Colleen Schnettler  13:56  
Yeah, it's that one?

Michele Hansen  13:57  
Ah, sorry. Oh, a little bit cryptic here.

Colleen Schnettler  14:01  
I don't know if I'm gonna say yes. So I don't want to. I don't want to like, name them yet. But um, it's a really cool opportunity. I am really, I think their product is spec. They're not it's not a product yet. But I think their IP is spectacular. And it's making waves to like, yeah, yeah, people are excited about it. What they're doing is really cool. And I love the idea of, as we've talked about, like going in with, with people, and I know these guys really well. So it's not like random people that I'd be starting a company with. Yeah, I love going in with people that are unknown quantity. So that's exciting. So

Michele Hansen  14:41  
like, just sort of, like recap. So I mean, so so when we started this podcast, right, like you were working full time as a, you know, software consultants, and had clients and you wanted to start a SAS and then you sort of finally picked something and started launching that in September of last year, and then bi, which is simple file upload. And then by December, you had something that was logical, you got into the Roku marketplace, it went public and you're allowed to start charging for it in February, you've gotten to this about 1000. Mr. Mark at this point, now you've kind of switch gears a little bit, you're still doing that you recently took a full time job that you're working Monday through Thursday, to lower some of that stress of having clients and and have work be a little more predictable and give you that space to also to still work on your SAS but not have it have that pressure of bringing in your full time income. And so you can kind of just just like a little. So how would being a partner in this project change that? Like, what would things look like on a practical level?

Colleen Schnettler  15:54  
I think practically, I don't know. So those are the details I'm trying to work out right now. Like, what would that look like? What would my involvement be? with them and selling their product? I think part of the reason is so so I built as, as a consultant for them, I built out a Rails or Ruby on Rails version of this product. So they kind of the reason they're asking me is because the bulls evangelist or the person who sells it to the rails community, essentially, because they cover a different a different back end community with their expertise. So I think that is a big concern is can I do all the things? I mean, that's, that's what I have to figure out. And I know we talk a lot on this podcast about trying to balance all the things. I want to do all the things. I need to figure out if I can do all the things and I can take advantage of this opportunity.

Michele Hansen  16:52  

Colleen Schnettler  16:53  
Oh, it's interesting, because as when when we try to grow like this, we always say, oh, I'll just hire someone, it is really hard to just hire someone. I think to find good developers, when I can think of the contract developers I know that I would hire to work on simple file upload, I think of two people that I have worked with before. And both of those people are incredibly busy. You know, like, I think when it's when it's your product, because theoretically, I could hire more help on simple file upload. And then I could try this other role with these guys on their product. But I'm hiring someone. It's not easy, like it's not, you know, I think everyone who's tried to do this can attest to that, especially good contract developers.

Michele Hansen  17:41  
So I want to run through some hypotheticals with you, and you tell me how you're feeling about them. Okay. Number one, is, you have this this this job you're working on Monday through Friday. And then on nights, you work on tipo, file upload, and then on Fridays, you work on this other thing. Let's just picture that in our heads for a moment. How do you feel about that?

Colleen Schnettler  18:12  
I don't feel good about that. Okay. And I think I think part of the background for folks that, you know, I don't know why you would know my life story. So I taught myself to code while I was working full time and had kids. And that was freaking exhausting. Like for, I don't know, two years, every sit if you go back in my Twitter history, like I used to do that 100 days of code thing, like, maybe not two years, but like, at least a year. I mean, every single night, I would listen to the code newbies podcast while I did the dishes, so I'd get pumped up about learning to code. And then I go every night and I was exhausted. And it worked out great for me, like, you know, I am exactly where I wanted to be when I did that. But that was really exhausting. And I'm in this really comfortable place now. And I want to be successful in my SAS. That's important to me. But I don't want to do that again. Yeah, I mean, it's just not not where I am right now in my life. Like, I don't want to be a slacker, but I also don't want to work 12 hours a day.

Michele Hansen  19:15  
Yeah. Understandably. I mean, you you did that like, and you know how hard it is. And it makes sense that you would not want to go back to that. Yeah. Okay. Here's another hypothetical. You keep the the nine to five Monday to Thursday job. You list simple file upload on micro acquire and it fetches one of those insane multiples that people are getting for stuff making $1,000 a month I require right now. And then you work on this other thing on Fridays?

Colleen Schnettler  19:52  
Yeah, so I thought about that. I feel like simple file upload though, is going to be so successful because I feel Like, I don't know. So I don't want to do that. The thing is, I don't want to do anything. I don't want to take on too many things that I do them all poorly, right? That's important. And I keep thinking, like the people who get what they want, are really good at focusing and not getting distracted. The people who spread themselves too thin no one wins.

Michele Hansen  20:18  
I mean, it's one who runs a company has a podcast and just wrote a book. I beg to disagree.

Colleen Schnettler  20:25  
You did them all spectacular. I don't know about that. But you know. So I think that I, so I thought about selling simple file upload, but it's almost feature complete, it's pretty much feature complete, and it just makes me money. If I don't touch it, it's just, it's just growing. Like, it's like magic unicorn over there.

Michele Hansen  20:48  
I mean, we just described a like cash throwing asset that doesn't need a ton of work on it that people would want to buy.

Colleen Schnettler  20:57  
Well, that's true. I mean, you could say that's why someone would buy it, because it literally, but I could also I mean, it's, I could just leave it my thought. Okay, so my thought is, what if I just leave it? Like, it doesn't need, we've talked about a lot of things like, my sister is working on some marketing plans for it, get it feature complete, there's like one or two things I need to add. I could just let it make me money, right. I mean, it's just or, or I turned down this other opportunity. And I go all in, not all in I mean, I continue with plan a plan A, which is focus on simple file, upload and see if I can grow it faster, while having that comfort and security of the full time job.

Michele Hansen  21:45  
I don't know. Okay, before we sort of move into that, let's just run through the last hypothetical that I thought of, and there's probably more, but we'll just stick it out with this one. You keep going with the nine to five, Monday through Thursday job. You work on simple file upload on Fridays, and you turn down this offer to work with these people who you think are working on. Okay, I'm not going to bias your, your.

Colleen Schnettler  22:16  
Um, so that's a good option, too. I feel like Okay, so let's let me take a step back and acknowledge the incredible, amazing position I'm in where I'm like, Oh, I have all these amazing opportunities. I don't know which one to take. So that's pretty spectacular. So I'm pretty happy about all of my choices. I don't think I can make a wrong choice here. I want to go in with these guys. Because I want co founders, I've always wanted co founders. I know it's hard it can it can bring conflict, and it's harder, but it's I think will be way more fun. And I think their product is really cool. I think it might be cooler than my product specials. So

Michele Hansen  22:57  
how does the thought of not working on that and walking away from it feel?

Colleen Schnettler  23:03  
I think I'll regret it. Because I think when they start selling their product, they're gonna be millionaires. Like no joke. I mean, I think I don't think it'd be bad though. Like, I don't think it's a bad choice to walk away. If I walk away, then they'll just keep keep on keep on in and I can, you know, cheer them on from the sidelines. And we could always decide later, you know, they don't haven't even launched their product yet. Like, just so you know, so we can always decide later, maybe in six months, I have more time. And they're like, Oh, we really need a salesperson. Now, if I come in later, they're not going to offer me a full third. I'm sure they'll be like, we'll give you x amount. But I don't think I'm shutting the door completely on that opportunity if I don't take it right now.

Michele Hansen  23:47  
So they're offering you a full third. Yeah,

Colleen Schnettler  23:51  
that is

Michele Hansen  23:53  
interesting. Um, you know, to the the, I feel like that sort of brings us back to the option of, you know, you have a full time job, which is paying you then you have this SAS that basically doesn't need any work from you, where you casually make $12,000 a year, like without doing a whole lot like no big deal. And then you spend your Fridays working on this other thing. And maybe sometimes you have to put in some hours on simple file upload or you've got some help from contractors. How does that option feel?

Colleen Schnettler  24:27  
That actually feels good to me. I mean, I, you know, I just, I want to make sure I'm putting good products out there in the world. So that is important to me to make sure that if I do something like that, that simple file upload is not getting the shaft because I feel that's my thing. And I feel very, very strongly about giving that product the time and attention it needs. But it is feature complete, almost. And so I could just let it ride, keep doing customer interviews. I mean what if I took the next six months Once you've been telling me to do this forever, instead of like, obsessing over what feature to add, I just talked to people, I just talked to my customers once a week, for six months, and then I have gathered, that doesn't take a ton of my time, couple hours a week, then I have gathered this amazing catalogue of data. And then who knows where everything will, will fall out in a period of time. And then after I've gathered this catalogue of data, I can decide what to do next with it.

Michele Hansen  25:28  
I mean, I'm an advocate of doing, doing the research and doing the work at the same time. And, and doing, you know, doing the research on an ongoing basis. And, you know, you don't have to wait until you have a pile of data to make decisions.

Colleen Schnettler  25:43  
I know, but I'm trying, I feel like you're telling me not to not to take on too much stuff. And just be aware of that, like, I feel like, that's the vibe I'm getting from you is you're like, I don't know, make sure you sort this out before you accept it.

Michele Hansen  25:55  
It seems like it's, it's, it's justifiably important to you to be conscious of your energy and how you're spending your time. And also this sort of like pride in your craft and what you're selling to people and making sure that when you're selling them something, you feel like it's worth that money that they're giving you and you are not content to just collect a check.

Colleen Schnettler  26:18  
Right. And I have to make sure it's good.

Michele Hansen  26:21  
And and this is something where it, maybe it is a little bit harder for me to say sort of intrinsically understand this because I have to have multiple things going on. You know, we are we are different people with different neurological systems. And I think you're afraid that if you take on, you know, these three things, that you're not going to be able to give any of them 100%. And, and, and that worries you and and you took this job for your family stability, you know, to as part of being a provider for your family. And it seems like you don't want to stress yourself to the point where your work performance suffers, or your performance on simple file uploads anytime you're so proud of it that you don't want to sell it.

Colleen Schnettler  27:20  
Yeah, I don't want to sell it because I'm so free, cuz you see the opportunity there too.

Michele Hansen  27:25  
But the same time, there's opportunity there. And the fact that the foundry really pioneered people like well absolutely buy it. And like it might help if you you know, you, you decided to go, you know, all in so to speak for your side project time on this other thing, and then you were sitting on, you know, I don't know, a casual, you know, $20,000 or whatever. Um, or more Actually, that's really low multiple, like, probably like 50 or $100,000. I would not be surprised if you fetch that. Gosh, seriously, like I've seen stuff like, what's our episode last week or a couple weeks ago about multiples? They're, like, absolutely bonkers multiples going for these, like sort of low MRR? sasses, like, under like, 10,000 a month, like even under 1000 a month. Like, like, I thought I saw one that was like 24 times revenue, which is

Colleen Schnettler  28:19  
wow, like, That's crazy. Yeah.

Michele Hansen  28:23  
Now, if you're making 500 a month, like, but still that's like, that's a huge premium.

Colleen Schnettler  28:29  
That's a huge Yeah, I don't know, I think you're right about, I think you're absolutely right about. I don't want to sell it because I feel very, I mean, it's my you know, it's my baby, like, I feel very invested in it. I'm excited. It feels like I finally finally, after you and I have been talking for years about my ideas, I found something that's working. So I then with me, their product is really cool. But they don't I think their products gonna work. I mean, it's pretty well validated because people have paid them to build it and let them keep the IP, but at the same time, they aren't actually selling anything yet. So they really haven't seen. Although I think you're absolutely right. It's going to be a, you know, a home run success. My thing is already working. So, you know, I'm hesitant to sell something that's working if I could just let it chill and get to it when I have time.

Michele Hansen  29:31  
You know, I remember I felt that way about when we were talking about God Oh, at first because we had this mobile app that was like working we had ad revenue like it was it was making us money and, um, and we desperately like, needed that money. And, and then it kind of came up that we you know, we need a geocoding for it to keep it going. And it was like she you know, should we put the time into it to make that into a product? Or should we focus on the thing that's already making money and just like, let it be just sort of something internal. And I remember having a lot of discussions with Mateus about that. And I remember I was on the side of, let's do the thing that's already making money. Because we know that's working. And, you know, lo and behold that app, I think it may be grossed $10,000, in its two or three years of existence. And, you know, God makes more than a day. So, like,

Colleen Schnettler  30:35  
it's, you know, these

Michele Hansen  30:37  
things are really hard to predict. Yeah, you know, you were saying of like, I think you're trying to tell me to do this. I'm not trying to tell you to do anything. I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm here to help you think,

Colleen Schnettler  30:50  
think and

Michele Hansen  30:53  
I can't tell you what is going to be the right decision for you. I can't tell you what's going to leave you with the fewest regrets. Um, you know, there's this other option where like, you know, these guys, maybe it's worth saying to them, like, hey, like, I love to come on is as a full partner. Like, if you're okay with me, you know, splitting my time between this and simple file upload for a while, like, I'm not ready to decide on what I want to do a simple file upload.

Colleen Schnettler  31:27  

Michele Hansen  31:29  
you know, because the thing about getting on something that you think is a rocket ship, like, there's no guarantees and like, rockets explode all the time. Like, yeah, they do. Yeah, like, and if you like, you know, and if you got, like,

Unknown Speaker  31:44  
you know, I don't know,

Michele Hansen  31:47  
little like propeller planes that next there that you know, is going to get you from A to B, like might not get you to the moon, but it's you know, going to get you a hop, skip and a jump away to where you want to be like, sometimes that's a little safer, you know? Yeah. And I mean, I think if you were saying I'm going to quit my job and simply file upload and work on this other thing, I would be like,

Unknown Speaker  32:10  
okay, let's, let's take a breath.

Unknown Speaker  32:13  

Unknown Speaker  32:15  
maybe you don't have to decide,

Unknown Speaker  32:17  
right? Yeah,

Colleen Schnettler  32:19  
yeah, I think more conversations. I think that's the right answer. I think I need to think a little bit. I liked your hypothetical. What does that look like?

Michele Hansen  32:27  
Yeah, just sort of went through it. Like, what are all different permutations?

Colleen Schnettler  32:31  
Yeah. Cool. All right. Well, tune in next week to find out what kylene has decided to do with her life again. Alright, so on that note, let's wrap up this week's episode of the software social podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you enjoyed the show, please leave us a review on iTunes and we'd love to hear from you on Twitter.

Michele Hansen  32:57  
And thank you so much for listening. Whether this is your first episode you're listening to or You have been listening since the beginning. It really means a lot to both of us. And I keep wishing we could have like software, social con or something. We're just like, get together and hang out. Because I feel like that would be really fun. So yeah, thank you for listening.

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