Workshopping Pay-As-You-Go Failed Payments

Colleen helps Michele work through a challenge with failed payments.

Michele: Hey, welcome
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Hey Colleen.

Colleen: Hey, Michele.

Good to see you again.

It's been a little bit.


Michele: has.


So a couple weeks ago I put up
this survey of our listeners.

Mostly because we're getting
like more advertisers who, like

don't, you know, they're not
like not part of the community.

They don't know us and they want
to know stuff about gender and

household income and stuff like that.

But I also was kind of
curious about a few things.

And today's episode is inspired by
something I heard in that survey.

Okay, so first of all, I put in like, you
know, some basic demographic questions

that advertisers will ask about, but then
I also ask, what were you doing while you

listen to this software social last week?

What leads you to listen to
software social in the first place?

And do you have any comments?

What is your guess for what
most people are doing while

they listen to this podcast?

Colleen: The dishes.

Michele: That is actually one
of the top ones, so doing the

dishes and going for a walk.

And when I was making this, I was
like should I do multiple choice?

Or should I do check boxes?

Or like, just.

And I was like, well, I listen to podcasts
while driving or while doing the laundry.

So that's probably what most people
are going to do, so I usually like

driving, doing laundry, and I was
like, well, maybe people bike or they

walk or like, and I was like, you
know, I'll just make it free form.

And it turns out that walking and
doing the dishes are the ones that

are automatically making their own
categories because so many people

are putting in the exact same thing.

Colleen: Nice.

Michele: Just an interesting note if
you go into a piece of research thinking

you know what the answers are going to
be, and then it's totally different.

So so many nice comments from
people about why they listened.

Still amazing to me that we're doing
this, we're what, 80 something episodes

in 80 weeks after we launched this,
just passed over 50,000 downloads.

Colleen: That's wild.

Michele: Wild, wild.

Okay, something came out of this that
people also asked for when we did our

little surveying on Twitter was they want
to hear more about geocodio problems.

So, we usually talk more about
your problems because it's more

people are kind of in your stage
of things, and there's always

interesting problems going on there.

But people want to hear about
geocodio, so fine, I'll talk about.

The thing I've only spent the last
eight years on, I guess I'll talk.

So do you want to workshop
a problem with me today?

I've got something I've been
trying to think through.

Apparently for like over
a year, I just found it.

I would just pull out a notebook
actually to take notes while we talk

about this and I found notes and
I'm like, oh, I made these at least

six months ago, if not a year ago.

Colleen: Okay.

Michele: And I remember talking to
Mathias and having this huge long chat

with him about it, like two years ago.

So it has to deal with payments
and credit cards and stuff.

And so I have to give like
a lot of background here.

Have you ever used geocodio?

Colleen: I have not.

Michele: Okay.

So, basically there's
two ways you can use it.

You can either use the API, or
you can upload a spreadsheet.

For example, let's say you are a marketing
person, and you want to make a map of

where all of your customers are, for
example, and you have this spreadsheet

of addresses, you upload that to and
then we give you the results back.

Like we give you a CSV file back
where we've added on the columns with

coordinates, or maybe you asked for
census FIPs codes and time zones and

school districts and something else.


Like we add all of that
onto your spreadsheet.

And so the problem that I'm
dealing with here is every month,

we have our pay as you go plan.

So we have pay as you
go, we have unlimited.

Then we have like custom, like
on-premise stuff on top of that.

And for pay as you go since the
very beginning, it's been that

we roll up the usage for a whole
month and then charge for it on

the first of the following month.

Colleen: Okay.

Michele: And we do that in the
beginning because it was an API.

And so if we were going to charge like
every day, you know, somebody for 50

cents worth of usage or whatever,
if you add in the 30 cents Stripe

fee, plus the percentage that would
have really dug into our margins.

And so, it just made sense for
us to just do it once a month,

we gave people a volume discount.

Everybody's happy.

The problem is that like every
month we usually have 10, 20, maybe

30 a pay as you go invoices with
a credit card on file that fail.

Now, usually the amounts are
not too great, like usually

it's, you know, $5, $10, $20.

If it's anything over a hundred
dollars, I chase them down.

But this means basically on, in any
given month, we have, you know, 10 to

15 payments worth, maybe, let's say
maybe 250 to $500 every month that

we just lose because the credit cards
fail and we can't get in touch with the

people, and even if we shut down their
account, we never hear from them again.

Colleen: So first thing, I
just want to clarify people are

intentionally stealing geocoding.


Michele: No, like, so cards
fail for a variety of reasons.

So pretty often case is that like
somebody first started using geocodio

like five years ago and then their
card expired because it was only

good for let's say four years.

And they didn't know that it expired and
Stripe does this automatic Dunning, which

is this process of trying to recover
the payments and trying to you know,

update the expiration dates and stuff
like that, but sometimes it doesn't work.

So, like there was no malice intended.

Another time it could be because they're,
if they have a corporate card, some

like companies prohibit employees from
using it for SAS services, for example.

So it could be that, that, or it could be
that they typed in the card number wrong.

It could be their card could be declined.

It also could be a prepaid card
that didn't have enough funds.

They could have just not
paid their account recently.

So like, it does happen at you get an
insufficient funds message back from

Stripe, and then you try it again a week
later and it goes through and it's fine.

So there's a whole ton of
reasons why People's cards fail.

I like to think that if someone is
actively trying to be malicious,

they're probably going to be one of
the people who, you know, spin up a

whole bunch of automated accounts to
try to process spreadsheets for free

and like, you know, hire a development
team off somewhere to run it for free

for them, which happens occasionally,
it's a whole separate kind of problem.

Thankfully, not a huge one.

But I like to think that if there's failed
payments people aren't being malicious.

It's unintentional.

And that it's, you know, kind
of on us to like, make sure

that like their card is good.


So this is where I'm getting to this.

Is that like I've w as I've
been looking at these, I have

noticed a couple of things.

I have a couple of anecdotes here.

First is that a lot of them
seem to only have one charge.

And when I go and look at it, it's
a, for their first charge, they've

only uploaded one spreadsheet.

So I don't have data behind this.

Like, I haven't actually run a report
on this, but several dozen of them, it

seems they uploaded a spreadsheet once.

They thought they paid for it.

And then, so when I emailed them three
weeks later saying, Hey, like this credit

card payment failed, they don't think
it's anything they need to pay attention

to because they think they already.

Colleen: Right.

Michele: And we didn't catch it then that,
oh, like their corporate card doesn't

allow this kind of charge or they typed
in the number wrong or whatever that is.

But then again, it could
be API usage, as well.

And so, we were kind of talking
this through and it's like, we're

basically giving people credit.

And they may not pay us for it.

And we're giving them a discount for
doing so, like, this is messed up.

Like this is not happening.

But then the risk is, is if we're
already asking for a credit card,

like let's say, when they go process
the file you know, but then if we run

the credit card right away, like what
kind of problems does that create?

Is it a net benefit for the
business or does it create problems?

In the old days, the old days of
geocodio when our product was not as

strong and, you know, we were dealing
with all sorts of issues that Excel

introduces, for example, for a long time,
like, it was pretty often that we would

have to rerun someone's spreadsheet.

So it was really awesome that we
didn't charge right away because

there would be hiccups in the process.

Just everything from You know like UCF
eight and coding issues, or somebody

downloads a spreadsheet from Salesforce
and it's in this really weird format.

And like, we don't handle it.

And we've had so many of those issues
over the years, but we have dealt

with a lot of them at this point that,
that benefit of not charging people

right away I think has gone away.

Like, it's really, really rare
now that, that we have some of

those issues that we used to have.

Um, But I think this is, you know,
one of the things about running

a mature business is that like
every decision has to be weighed

against all of these pros and cons.

And it's not clear cut of, yes, this
is obviously the right thing to do.

It's like, okay, well we could do this.

And maybe we have a chance of
recovering say, let's say $250.

But then are we somehow reducing
conversions by doing this?

Like, is there a downside here to, how
does this change the user experience?

You know, people have you using us
for a long time without any issues

who've been paying once a month?

How will they feel about then
having to get charged every time?

Are they going to like that?

They're going to have a lot of
receipts now, should we have a credit

system where people can buy credits?

Like, do we do this with the API as well?

Do we let them stay on monthly billing?

Do we force them to buy credits?

Like most pays you go services, do like
Twilio and a whole bunch of others.

You have to buy credits.

You can't just live on
credit, so to speak.

So, is this just for spreadsheets?

Is it for API?

Is It just for new users?

Should we just be more sophisticated
about how we're handling credit cards?

Like there's like a lot of directions
this one little problem could go in.

Colleen: Yeah, I see that.

Michele: Yeah.

Colleen: So if you were to change it
and charge them upfront, can you measure

if you see a difference in conversions?

Michele: Yes.


We could.

So we track when different events fire off
when someone's uploading a spreadsheet.

So like when they first upload it as
part of the, like, there's like a whole

upload flow, that's like four steps on
because they have to confirm, you know,

which columns have the address in it.

And then you know, say if
they want additional data

and all that kind of stuff.

So when they first drop it into the
file upload, which is where your heart

is, so like that that's an event that's
saved and then if it actually processes,

that's an event that saved as well.

And so we could track, I don't know if we
currently track whether the credit card

ad, how, like anything about that process.

Of course, we also have analytics on the
page, but we've actually just thought

about just deleting Google analytics
entirely because we never even look at it.

And if it's like privacy invading,
then like what's the point, the point.



And we don't, you know, the big
use case for using analytics is

if you're running ads to track
conversions, but we don't run any ads.

So it's correct.

So yes, I mean, we could track that.

I guess somebody who's, you know,
uploading say a list of 10,000

addresses or a hundred thousand,
they're already being asked for a

credit card, so it's not introducing
any friction that was not there before.

It's more that they were
not being charged before.

Colleen: Right.

Basically if I want to use geocoding,
I come in, I give you my credit card.

You basically let me do
whatever I want for a month.

And then at the end of the month,
you say you've used X amount of

credits and you charge me for the
credits that I have used is that.

Michele: So that first part,
that now sounds pretty crazy

when you say it like that.

Yes is true.

So you like buying credits is optional,
so like you could make an account, make

an API key, add a credit card to your
account, or not at a credit card account.

If you don't want to go over
the free tier Yeah, use it.

And then at the end of the month,
we'll charge you, you know, on the

first let's say on March 1st, we'll
charge you $50 or $500 or $5,000

based on your usage for that month.

Colleen: Because all the other
services I do use require you to

purchase your credits up front.

Michele: Interesting.


So, how do you feel about that?

Colleen: Your model is way better,
honestly, because buying credits

up front is a huge pain in the ass.

You never know how many
exactly you're going to need.

And I think that what you
described actually sounds

quite lovely and low stress

Michele: for a user's perspective.

Colleen: Like if I'm the
user well, let's think about.

I guess that's kind of
how AWS works, right?

Like you get billed every month
based on what you have used.

You don't come in and say, I'm going to
use five gigs this month, ahead of time.

Michele: But then what happens on AWS?

If your credit card fails?

Colleen: I don't know my credit card.

Hasn't don't want to know
they shut down all my storage.

Michele: I mean, we
could be much stricter.

Like there's a lot of trust
implied with this system.

And this is the thing too,
is like the vast majority.

This is like completely fine.

Like this is only a tiny payments every
month that we have this issue with.

And the vast majority of
them are completely fine.

And so, do we want to let this be a
situation of, you know, a few people

like spoil it for everybody else?

Colleen: So question for you.

Why wouldn't this be a hair on fire
problem for me, if I am a customer of

yours and you shut down my account won't I
know because I can no longer use your API.

You're saying a lot of people just bounce.

Like they don't

Michele: even notice.

I floated one spreadsheet.

Let's say your boss gives you a project.

You've got a hundred thousand addresses
and you need census FIPs code for all

of them, which is this census identifier
that you use to connect to other datasets.

And it's a very common use case for us.

Your boss gives you the spreadsheet.

You need to add the FIPs codes, do it.

You go, you upload the spreadsheet and
then you don't need to do that again.

Uh, So

Colleen: This is what you're talking
about, how they operate in good faith.

They gave you a credit card.

They don't see their
corporate credit card.

They assume you charged
it when they did that.

And so when the credit card fails three
weeks later, they assume it doesn't

matter because I've already paid for it.

Michele: Right?

So the other thing is that we have
people email us at least once a week,

we get somebody emailing us saying,
Hey, I uploaded this file on February

5th and I didn't get a receipt.

And then we have to explain, oh no,
you're going to be charged on the first.

And then people get it.

And we send people an email
when they add a credit card to

their account explaining this.

And it's said all over the website,
but it seems like people expect to

pay for the spreadsheets right away.

Colleen: Yeah, cause it
feels like a discrete event.

Like to me, that's what I would think too.

I would think I'm doing
this discrete event.

I will be charged for this specific event

Michele: and interesting.

But then, so for the API, like I
imagine when you add your credit

card to a AWS, for example, can you
remember if they did some sort of

card verification on your account or.

Do you just like add it and then it's been

Colleen: a long time, but I don't
remember any, you were talking

about like those companies that
put like a cent in your account.

Michele: Yeah, exactly.

Or they just, I don't

Colleen: test the car, like, like
hotels, how they put a hold on it.

I don't think they did anything like that.

I mean, AWS is probably to the
point where they don't care, right.

If they lose $10,000 a
month, what do they care?

They make a bazillion dollars a month.

Michele: Right.

I mean, if you, if your AWS
bill is only $5 a month and

you're doing something right.

Colleen: So I guess what I'm saying is
that kind of credit card verification

upfront seems really painful to everyone.

Like it would really hurt me if I tried
to sign up for a service and they're

like, I'm going to charge your credit card
5 cents to make sure it's a real card.

I'd be like, really.

That's a really annoying

Michele: what if you had to buy $5
worth of credits or something,

would that still be annoying,

Colleen: Are those credits enough?

For my spreadsheet that I
need with my 10,000 addresses?

Or do I not know until I try to do so?


So, so what are we still talking about the

Michele: API?

Well, yeah, I think, cause I feel
like very different use cases to me.

For the spreadsheet, you would
just purchase it right away.

And I would not make you go through
the hassle of buying credits in

order to run like that seems onerous.

And the really, the only reason we
have credits is people are like,

Hey, I work for a big organization
and we can't do pay as you go.

We need to have a reliable
um, a predictable bill.

Can I buy $500?

I'm sure it was because people
like actually needed it.

Or yeah, like, you know, big
organizations, big institutions

that have like annual budgets,
like we don't really push credit.

It's only kind of there if people need it.

Colleen: I see.

Michele: It creates an incentive
for people to buy credits because

we give people, the incentive to
buy credits is that you get a volume

discount on the credit purchase.

So like, let's say that if you were to
use let's say $50 worth of usage every

month, you're only getting that level of
discount, which is probably around 5%.

I think if that I should know
that off the top of my head.

And, but then if you buy, let's say a
thousand dollars worth of credits, like

you're actually getting, you know, like a
much bigger percentage discount on that.

But so then if you're not paying
for, like, if you are somebody who

uses spreadsheets often, then there
is an incentive to buy credits and

get the discount, which is more
reliable for us because then we know

that we've been paid for your use.

Colleen: Right.

Michele: But we're not
forcing it on people either.

Colleen: Can you separate these
discrete events from these

API credits or pay as you go?

Michele: What do you mean?

Colleen: I mean, can you, so everyone
who uses a discreet event, can you just

charge them for that when it happens?

Michele: So uploading that
spreadsheet is the only discreet.

Colleen: Yeah.

That's what I meant.

Michele: Yeah, no, yeah.

We could do that.

Colleen: Oh, but you know what,
Michelle, what if you have 10, 15, 26.

Michele: Right.

Colleen: That's so annoying.

Michele: Or what if you used the API and
you upload spreadsheets, which is another

group of users, especially for people who
have, we call them like team accounts.

So you've got 10 people in your
company who are all using geocoding and

you're getting consolidated billing.

So, let's say your whole BI team is using
. Some of the people are using the API and

some of the people are using spreadsheets.

If we're charging
individually for spreadsheet.

Then it could be an opt out thing.

Like you could opt for either monthly
billing or one time billing, like as

it happens billing, or maybe we could
say, if you have a team account, you

can only get one monthly invoice because
then if it's a team account, it's

usually like, it's like a legit company.

It's not just somebody at Gmail.

And then if they don't pay it,
then I can go chase down their

accounts payable department.

So that is actually not.

Colleen: How many people do you
think you have split on pay as

you go versus buying credits?

Especially since you said you're
incentivized to buy credits.

Michele: So credits are
part of pay as you go.


Like it's under that umbrella.

I don't actually know how many users
by credits, but it's not many, right?


It's most pays you go,
customers are paying as they go.

Colleen: So what typically happens
when you have these Stripe has

automated Dunning, but is it
just, they just retry the card.

They're not emailing the person.

Michele: They do.

They send an email and then I think
they send emails and then we also send

an email through Intercom, and then
if the amount is like over a hundred

dollars, I email them, my VA emails
them, that doesn't lead us anywhere.

You know, we moved towards shutting
down their account or finding the

email for accounts payable, if it's
like at company or, I mean, there was

one time I even like DMD a company on
Twitter and it was like, I need the

email for your accounts via department,
so we don't break your website.

Thank you.

That's pretty rare that I do that.

So yeah,

Colleen: Let's just think about this.

If you switched everyone
to paying upfront.

That would decrease your personal,
like I guess what I'm trying to say.

It's not just getting
that two to $500 back.

It's also getting all that time
and logistics back of all these

emails you were sending and
all this hunting down people.

Michele: Yeah.

That is automated.

But yes, I think there is
definitely time involved.

And I mean, I think, I mean, maybe
the problem is we're just doing.


Like if we automated this so
that, okay, you've got seven

days after the payment fails.

And then instead of restricting you to the
free tier, we just shut you off entirely.

And it's automated, right?

Like this is something we
talked through a while ago, like

sending alerts through the API.

I mean, people have actually wanted to be
able to get billing information through

the API and we have punted on that.

But like, you know, sending someone
an error back saying this is being

rejected because your payment fit, like,
because your account is delinquent.

We don't do that right now.

We only shut people down if
it's been several months Yeah,

maybe we're just too nice.

Colleen: So, okay, we haven't recorded
for like a month, but, and I know our

businesses are totally different, right.

I mean, but you did just tell me
a month ago when I was discussing

this same problem with you, that if
it's a hair on fire problem, like

they'll get their shit together.

They'll yeah.


They'll get it together.

And they'll pay their bill.

Like we just have this conversation
regarding file uploading.

Michele: They will, but there's a
question of just because like, if you

delete somebody's API key or you freeze
their API key, that they will notice,

and it's a hair on fire problem and
you've broken their thing just because

they will react that way, it doesn't
mean you have to or should do that.


And I think this is what I struggle
with is like, if I was on the

receiving end of that and I didn't
realize that my corporate card didn't

support this kind of purchase or that
I had, I don't know, whatever, like

there was something wrong with it.

And then all of a sudden my
website is broken because of this

like that would stress me out.

That would totally throw me into a panic.

And I guess I don't
want to throw somebody.

Colleen: Yeah, but that's your fault.

So you should be.

Michele: Saying, it's like,
we're too nice about this.

Maybe we do need to be a
little, I mean, I'm not saying

it has to be more harsh about

Colleen: it two days or three days,
but if you're sending five, it sounds

like you're sending a whole series

Michele: of emails that go out.

Colleen: So after their X number of
emails, if the problem has not resolved,

I think just cut them off and it's
a problem, they'll reach back out.

I mean, they can do whatever they want
cause they're humans, but theoretically

they have no justification to be
pissed if you've sent them five emails.

Right, right.

It's like, dude, you got to
read your email and you guys

are so quick to respond.

You could have you know, their
API key alive again within 24

hours once they got it together.

So yeah, it here's my, my
initial thought on this.

For the size of your business, changing
your entire pricing structure, just to get

two to $500 back does not seem worth it.

However it depends on what
you're really getting back.

If it's more about trying to get that time
back, or you're just morally angry that

someone is that this is happening to you.

But think of the size of your business,
that's a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage

of your business and changing your
whole pricing structure has the

possibility of really upsetting people
who have been with you for a while,

who are happy with what you have.

Michele: Yeah.

And this is what it comes down
to you is that like, when you're

confronted with a decision, doing
nothing is always an option, right?

Like the Knoll option is always
available, but we often don't realize.


And I think this is why this is a
problem that we have kicked around

for two years, because we all have
this work to think it through.

And like, I mean, I'm literally sitting
here looking at like a flow chart

of all of the different possible
permutations of this, and then we get

back to it and it's like, what is some
smaller way that we can solve this?

Did she make it marginally better?

Maybe we should be a bit more harsh.

I mean, it's also occurred to me.

It's like maybe the first time
someone uploads a spreadsheet,

then we charge them right away to
like, make sure the card is good.

And then after that we charged
them once a month, but I don't

know, that seems complicated.


Colleen: That seems complicated.

I'm trying to think of other services.

I have S three accounts on three
different providers and they all work

where they bill you at the end of the
month, based on that month's usage.

But that's the joke with AWS
is like, you'd never know how

much your bill is going to be.

It's always a mystery, however,

Michele: well, there's
other reasons too, though.

I know the AWS dashboard and like
actually figuring out like what you

were paying for something is always fun.

Like I'm, there's separate services built
on top of AWS, just to tell you that.

What I know, like the fact that you
have to pay somebody else to tell you

what you're paying AWS is pretty funny.



I think you talked about how, like,
we don't really send any email, like

you sent, like maybe two or three,
product update emails last year.

And you know, we have the
ability for people to set a

billing limit on their account.


Having had that experience of the
surprise bill, like not wanting anyone

to go through that, but we thought
about like having like a weekly wrap up

email that's like, here is your usage.

Here's your running do it?

Colleen: No, I hate email.

Don't do it

Michele: like a content thing to where
we would put our news out there and

then it was like, I would unsubscribe

Colleen: from that shit so fast.

I hate those.


So I'm

Michele: like kind of, I enjoy
clicking unsubscribe on things like, so

Colleen: it's funny because Adam
sent out his tailwind update email

today and it makes me so happy.

Cause I only get an email from
him like once every six months.

And so I read them cause I, he only
sends out product update emails, like

literally like three times a year.

And so it's great.

Whereas all these other places junk
every week and I'm sure they're useful.

That's the thing is I'm not saying their
content isn't good, but like, oh my gosh,

I cannot unsubscribe fast enough, like
even harvest, so harvest is a time tracker

and they started, they, someone on their
team was like, oh, let's send out weekly,

here's how you track your time emails.

No, they're the worst.

It makes me so mad.

Like unsubscribe.

I know how I spent my time.

I can go look at it.

Thank you.

Michele: Well, sorry, we will put the
tailwind email , so like Mathias had

started forwarding a bunch of his email to
Intercom because he was getting so much.

And so I have really
enjoyed unsubscribing him.

It's all the emails, billions of emails.

Like he's getting.

But the, and like usually I just like
archive them or unsubscribed when they

come in the tailwind one I left in there.

I did not touch it.

And I did not present subscribe because

Colleen: cause, he only sends
them like once every six months.

And so there actually, we were, you and I
were also talking about this last month.

Whereas signal to noise
ratio on your emails.

I think a weekly email is a terrible idea.

Michele: Personally.

Well, we're not going to do that
with, I mean, but like, sorry, I guess

that should be like an opt in thing.


Like people what's my use of that.


Because you don't want the runaway bill.

I feel like we've gone in a circle
kind of, and it's like, okay, so

w what are we getting out of this?


So maybe we could be a bit more strict
with when there is a failed payment

of shutting people down sooner, we're
sending them a billion emails and

then we kind of just like, let it go.

Sometimes we freeze their account.

Oftentimes freezing their account
just means they're limited to

the free tier, which still means
they might not even notice.

And so maybe that should just be
like a full freeze on the account.

And everything fails.

But maybe we keep the rest
of the model the same.

Colleen: It feels like low gain to me.

And you know, your customers
better and your business better,

the marginal improvement.

I mean that will come,
not even improvement.

The module increase in funds that
will come from paying up front, just

has so many other potential ripple
effects for your existing customers.

And again, if it were me, I do it
because $500 is 33% of what I make.

But for you guys, it's like what?

Very, very small.

So it's noise.

And I'm not saying you should leave
money on the table, throw it away.

That sounds terrible.

I'm just saying the pain and suffering
for you guys to restructure your

billing program and not even the pain
and suffering you have to go through.

Cause I know you said you already have
credits available, so it would probably

just be, you know, that's the only
thing you can use the impact on your

customers, you have tens of thousands of
customers like people are going to notice.

Yeah, and I don't want to spend the
Most of those customers pay on time.

Michele: So yeah.

Most people it's no problem.

But I think, yeah, and I think the,
the work involved is really like after

all the emails have been sent, figuring
out, okay, who do we have to shut off?

Like, should we shut them off?

And maybe that should, those, all of
those billing emails should be like, if

you don't resolve this within seven days,
your account will be frozen and you will

not be able to download any of your files.

You will not be able to
make any requests like yeah.

When we were sure this is unintentional,
you know, and find a nice way to

phrase it, but go update your current.


And then, so that, that lessens
the manual work on our side.

Colleen: I think you should see how
far that gets you and reevaluate.

But to me, like I said, based
on the factors I know about your

business, that seems like a good
step in the right direction and

just see where that gets you.

And maybe it doesn't get you far
enough and you do end up changing

it, but I wouldn't change everything.



Michele: Yeah, I am really curious
to see what the email looks like

and what the user experience is
if your payment fails from AWS.

Colleen: I'm going to go
put a fake credit card in.

Michele: I was wondering if
anyone listening has gotten one

of those emails, let us know, like
if you could forward it to us.

That would be really, really interesting.

Colleen: Okay.

Here's a question for you?

So I named cheap, so I just
got a new business credit card

because my number got compromised.

And so before they.

They must have tried to run my
card before it was due because

they contacted me via email.

I think before my bit
can, can you even do.

I'd have to double check the emails,
but I feel like Namecheap was like,

Hey, you have a bill due in seven
days and your card is expired.

Go fix

Michele: it.

They can know that like, yeah, like
your credit card is from like 20, 20.

They can see that and send you an email.

I guess actually that's
also, that's interesting.

That's actually something we could do is I
don't think we're checking that right now.

Let's say it's somebody who yeah.

Use geocodio five years ago.

And then for some reason they
didn't need it in the intervening

five years and now they need it.

That credit card is now expired.

I don't think we're checking whether the
card on file is currently Not expired.

I don't think.

Colleen: Okay.

Let me look at, I'm trying to look
at these Namecheap emails to see, and

Michele: that could be something like,
cause I remember when, my old job, when

I was a product manager, we would like,
that was one of the email series I had

to write out was people who have renewal
coming up, but their card has expired.


So that's a good

Colleen: point.

They send me an email before they bill me
to let me know they're going to bill me.

But we'll try your D okay.

So I don't see, I must
have deleted the emails.

I thought I got an email before the card
payment failed telling me it was going to

fail, but again, I'd have to care right.

To your point.

That's not going to solve your
problem because they're already done.

Michele: So don't magazine
that you don't read anymore.

And then it's going to fail.

You're like, oh, good, great.

Thank you for taking that off my plate.

They have to actually care about

Colleen: this are probably not the answer.

Michele: Yeah, well, okay.

So I think this is good.

So be stricter about shutting
people off and truly shut them off.

Have warnings about that
in the email series.

So basically be more automated.

That's like our solution to
everything is be more automated.

It's a

Colleen: great solution.

You're managing to run a multi-million
dollar company with two people.

So I feel like that's a good

Michele: solution automate all
the things, automate everything.

And then yes, checking, like if
somebody uploads a spreadsheet.

Checking, whether there, I mean maybe
just in general, we should be just

checking whether credit cards are expired.

And then when somebody goes to the
dashboard, which is where, if you're

an API user, you might go to export
your usage, or if you're uploading

a spreadsheet, checking whether
the credit card has expired before

any new activity takes place and
prompting people to update the card.

Colleen: I feel like that's a
good, a step first to take a first

Michele: step and see how to do nothing,
but it's not a blow everything up either.

It's a, yeah.

It's incremental.

Which I think like, you know, a
company at this point, like a lot of

things we do are incremental because
there's so many ripple effects of yeah.

Every decision and you kind of.

You could go into a tailspin about
that or you could enjoy that.



And that's just kind of
part and parcel of it.

And I kind of, sometimes I wonder
if that's why there are, you know,

serial entrepreneurs who move on
to a new business every, you know,

five, eight years, because you
know, you get to a certain point and

your problems are they're not like,
what should our product be there?

They're like boring stuff, like about
email and about billing billing.


And you have to like, enjoy, you know,
making flow charts about billing flows.

Like I did.


And that's not for

Colleen: everybody.


Totally different skill sets.

So if I had to make a

Michele: 300 page flow chart like you do
in the corporate world, like I just, I

don't have that kind of energy anymore.


All right.

Well, this has been a successful
workshopping of a geocodio problem.

Colleen: I like it.

I like to talk about geocodio.

Michele: Speaking of that survey, so we
are still looking for people to take it.

According to a sample size
calculator, I found online, we

need like 300 people to take it.

Which is just, I guess, under half of
the people who will listen to this.

On the first day at errors.

So if half of you go out and
take the survey, then I can tell

potential advertisers that we have a
statistically significant survey results.

When I tell them what our
gender and income breakdown.

Do you want to know that by the way?

Are you curious?

I am curious.


Percentage of listeners
who are male versus female.

What's your guests?

80 male, 76% male.

Colleen: Oh, nice.

That was close.

Michele: Work situation.

What percentage do you think our employee
and employee and they have side projects,

the majority 53%, which is the majority.


Colleen: Do we have any
full-time side project people?

We do?

Michele: 26% are full-time on
their own, a product or service

business another small percentage
or consulting plus side projects.

And only a very small percentage
are employees with no side projects.

Also a bunch of people are
freelance or consulting.

Full-time that makes sense.

That makes sense.

What do you think, percentage of people
who were between the ages of 30 and 49,

Colleen: 85 90?

Yeah, actually it's

Michele: 85.


You know, our audience
is really impressive.


And then

Colleen: I know our audience.


Michele: And then what percent does income
between a hundred and $200,000 a year?

70 47.




So, so that's our little survey.

It's fun, totally anonymous.

Like it just, yeah, kind

Colleen: of Michelle, if people want to
take the survey, where can they find it?

So they

Michele: should go to our Twitter
accounts at software social

pod, and it is our opinion.


So if everyone, while you're out for your
walk right now, you're doing the dishes.

You're out for a run.

When you finish up with that, if
you wouldn't mind moseying over

to our Twitter account and taking
the survey, we would really agree.

Colleen: Cool.

You know, we should get swag.

And then we could send people swag for
taking the survey and that'd be super fun.

Michele: That would be
those swag expensive.

So we would need a lot of
advertisers to pay for this.

Oh, yeah.

Well, maybe we'll work
out those problems on a

Colleen: that they would just be cool.

Like people are always sending
me swag and I love it, man.

It's fun.

You're right though.

We gotta be big time
before we can have swag.

Someone suggested to me that we should
have a software social conference.

I was like, that's an
idea that would be fun.

I was talking about how, you know,
I mean, obviously neither of us have

the time or energy, but it'd be cool
to build a community around this

Michele: in the survey that we
have, like a discord or a slack or

Colleen: something.


It'd be cool to build a community
around this, which is, it ended

up itself a full-time job.

So neither if I can,
neither of us can do that.

But they were like, oh, maybe
she just have a conference where

you can just all go and hang out.

It'd be like, I was
like, that would be fun.

You know where it should be Mexico city?



Where it shouldn't be.

It should be

Michele: okay for today.

Everybody who is running
their dog is tired.

They're like, you're doing good.

The dishes are done at this point.

All right.

We will talk to you next week.

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