31: Do Nothing, A Bold Launch Strategy
Ethan: good morning.
Darby: Morning, happy Friday.
Ethan: happy Friday.
Ethan: some technical difficulties in
our, my internet connection this morning.
So we don't have video on right now.
So no video.
So I'm talking into a black screen, but I
like that Riverside lets me know that the
actual recording of the black screen will
be a higher quality than what I'm seeing.
Darby: it is a very high quality
recording of a letter that
is to represent us as people
Oh man, how's it going?
Yeah, it's good.
Ready for Friday?
Ethan: Me Me too.
Darby: I, we had to skip our
recording last week cuz I got sick.
and I have just been
fighting this cold all week.
took several COVID tests that appears
not to be that, but just a cold
that really kind of kick my butt.
So, kind of struggled through the work
week, but got through it and now I'm
ready for the weekend to get here.
So , that's my story.
Glad it's just normal.
Sick and not COVID sick.
I guess, I mean, I still don't
know how I haven't had it yet,
Darby: I'll take it, I guess.
What, what's new with you this week?
Ethan: My kid was gone this week,
so I got a bunch of stuff done.
yeah, we spent the, we spent
some time, redoing this
bedroom and it was pretty cool.
He got home last night and
basically did it notice so
Darby: yeah, kids, man.
They appreciate nothing.
Ethan: I know, right.
Darby: So I had a topic that I thought
of, we could kind of chat about this
week if we want, see how it goes.
so I, I've been working on for
lead, honestly, for like I've
been working on some blog content.
we've got this blog on there.
That's horribly out of date.
and, we hadn't.
Haven't really posted anything in a while.
And I thought, well, it's about time
to, to do some more content here.
So we talked about it a little bit.
And the initial approach that we
started looking at was like, and I
think a lot of people do this, is
kind of going after like the keywords
that you want keywords that you wanna
rank for and trying to like, sort of
back into content based on keywords.
Search for terms, find things that rank
well, try to write posts around that.
so I went down that path for a little
while and I got super frustrated with it.
I like everything I was like searching
for was coming up with like no results.
and the tool that I was using
was super clunky and just
slow and hard to work with.
And so I kind of just gave up.
I was like, well, this is dumb.
, this is way too hard to, to come
up with something to write about.
and I kind of just like put it on
the back burner and then a couple
days ago, I thought, well, why
don't I look at what our competitors
are writing about as inspiration
instead of trying to go for keywords.
And that was just like way.
I was like, oh man, there's so
much good, so many good ideas here.
and so then I started kind of like
throwing some ideas together and like
that felt like it kind of unlocked things.
So I guess, I guess what I wanted to
talk about is like, which is the more
important way to approach something.
I maybe that's not the right question,
but, I feel like you can go after
Quote, unquote scientific approach of
find these keywords, try to rank for
them, you know, do the whole thing.
or you can just be I don't know, I can't
think of the right word to use here,
but like you just go into it thinking
what's gonna create value for my readers.
And then just write that stuff and
kind of don't care about the keywords.
Like you gotta care about it a
little bit, but I don't know.
You could spend so much time
like overanalyzing it and then
never actually write anything and
never actually produce any value.
I'd so this is a really good topic.
Cause I was looking into
this, this week as well.
and I'd love to talk to an actual
like marketer or someone who's managed
a, like a content strategy before.
Cause it feels like.
The keywords have to be secondary, right?
Like, I feel like Alyssa, if you
wanna just wanna be super spammy
and super obvious that you're just
keyword stuffing into an article.
the primary goal has to be
just useful to the reader.
Ethan: Other like, I don't know,
maybe I would be like leaving
money on the table or whatever,
because I'm not attracting as many.
Searches as possible, but just
like, it feels so weird to just
write something for the pure basis
of, I wanna rank for this keyword.
Darby: I so, so something you said is,
I think is kind of at the heart of like,
of this for me anyway, which is this
idea of like leaving money on the table.
and I I think it's like,
obviously you don't want to.
I actively do that or
like consciously do that.
Just like, well, I could be, you
know, converting more on this, but
I'm just going not to, I'm gonna
choose not to for some reason.
but it seems like there's kind of this
like in, and I think this comes from
like hyper growth startup philosophy
and like VC backed companies is.
You have to absolutely maximize
everything cuz it's, you know,
growth is the most important thing.
but what if, you know, in this situation,
what if it isn't and it's like, okay,
well, you know, maybe we could have done
those keywords a little bit better, but
we did get a piece of content published.
It is driving traffic.
It is producing some sort some
results, which is better than.
You know, like ending up in decision
paralysis and never shipping anything,
Darby: which is like the
extreme of the other side.
But, like I could see that easily
getting to that point when you're in
kind of this like indie hacker mode.
and, you know, you've
got such a limited time.
Ethan: I wonder, does the tool
you're using, like, can you put in,
text and will it tell you like what
the keywords are like, what you
would likely rank for in that text?
Darby: that's a good question.
I, the tool that I was working
with that I got frustrated
with wasn't set up for that.
but I'm guessing there
would be other tools that.
I think the one that I was using was
purely kind of a keyword research tool.
So you put in a few keywords and
then it kind of gives you search,
volume and stuff like that.
which is, I think that's maybe the harder
way to do it, cuz you kind of need to know
what you're looking for going into it.
And if you're kind of like.
It, I don't know.
I suppose it takes practice
using tools like that and stuff.
So, but what you're describing
is more like here's a couple
paragraphs of content.
what's good out of this
Ethan: Or more, I think more like.
Darby: seems like, yeah.
Ethan: if you like, I have an idea for
a blog post that I think would be useful
for my audience, I'm gonna write it.
And then I wanna do like a reverse
keyword lookup and be like, is this
thing gonna rank for anything that's like
relevant to the searches that I want?
Or like even better?
Like how like provide me like
some small changes I could make
to make it rank slightly better.
You know what I mean?
Like, so like the opt, like the
keyword optimization comes like
after, as a secondary effect, not
as the primary goal of writing,
Darby: yeah, that, that seems like.
A really useful tool.
I don't know if that exists
Ethan: I'm gonna
Darby: like, especially the idea of, yeah.
Like, like if there is, if you could
give it something and say, and it
would tell you, I don't know, here's
a, here's some other alternative
words that you could use here or
here that would have better traffic.
that would be really interest.
Ethan: I'll see what I could find.
Darby: I guess, all of all that is
sort of to say like my thinking on
this is like, I want to focus on
things that are creating value and
hope that the keywords come with it.
But if they don't, I
guess it's probably okay.
like having a bit more content
and more like activity on
the blog is probably good.
like these are also pieces of content
that we could like link to from
emails or like within the application.
I think there's some sort
of some value to that too.
Darby: so, yeah.
I don't know.
I think that, yeah, like unblocking myself
that way felt like a nice win, I guess
Ethan: I was thinking about this
whole problem this week, too.
cause last time we talked, I had
mentioned that I wanted to probably
like buy some blog posts, like
have someone write them for me.
so I started researching like different
effectively, like different marketplaces.
You can go to, to get a freelance writer.
And like that led me down a whole path
of like, I ended up on the freelance
writer, subreddit, like reading,
writeups from people who like have
written content for these marketplaces.
And while they do not enjoy it at all.
Darby: Oh, really
Ethan: yeah, it's like, it's basically
like, they call it content mill.
Ethan: You're really pushed to,
to write a whole lot of stuff
really fast for not a lot of money.
so like the prices I was getting quoted
for, I think it's about a 2000 word
post was around like 150 to 180 bucks.
and out of that, the writer would
get about 20 bucks, I think,
Ethan: which is wild.
so they're really incentivized to write as
much as possible, as quickly as possible,
which is at odds with the quality aspect.
So then I was thinking like, oh, I
should just find a freelance writer who
has experience writing about personal
finance topics and go directly to.
So that's why I started
researching this week.
I found a couple people
that I need to email.
the rates like seem like it would
probably be equivalent to going to like
a marketplace directly, then at least
I'm working with that person directly.
the writer directly, which I feel a
little bit better about, about that.
Ethan: but I don't think there's
any, there's no way I'm gonna.
Get a relationship in place and
have a blog post written in the
timeline that I want right now.
So I think I'll probably
write the first one on my own.
I think that also helps too, cause
I can figure out like the style and
voice of it and that kind of stuff.
Darby: yeah, that's probably a
good idea to, to do like the.
First couple of yourself, cuz
then, yeah, you get the voice down.
I think you can kind of set a
little bit of the direction for it.
and you know, it's like one of those
things where I suppose like you
will have a better understanding
of what you want someone to do.
If you've done it yourself, even if
it's like hard to do and slow and you
know, not the best use of your time.
Should I even say it's
not a good use of my time.
It's more that I'm just not good at it.
So I'll probably spend like all next
week writing one fricking blog post, but
I'm the same way takes forever.
well, if you, unless you have anything
else on that topic, I did wanna
follow up on your assignment for this
Ethan: Oh, yeah.
Let's talk about my assignment.
Darby: we're see how we're doing.
So I'm done.
but I technically missed my assignment.
I'm actually like really
frustrated about this.
so there are two really big bugs in it
that are gonna stop me from launching it.
the first one is every time
you update an asset value, all
Darby: sounds like the way
Ethan: yes, We can get in the
weeds on that if you want.
I think there's like a pretty
specific technical reason.
This is happening.
and the second bug, which is not
potentially is definitely more impactful,
is it currently has no database.
Darby: did you just forget that?
Forget that step
Ethan: no, I moved it.
So the application is hosted on fly.io.
They have their own database
that you could run, which
is where, what I was using.
the issues I had with it are
it's, it's not managed in any way.
It's like, they'll, they essentially
install a Postgres container for you
and then launch a new application.
And they'll take snapshots
of it for like backups.
Like everything else is up to you.
Like it's, if you wanna, upgrade
it or anything like you, you're
on your own to manage it.
which I have the skills to do,
but I don't have the desire.
Like that's not where
I wanna spend my time.
So I found another product.
called crunchy bridge, their company
that spun out of some of the people
who worked on Heroku's Postgres
product So they do a lot of cool stuff.
one of the things they're working on is a
way to have a private connection to fly.
you know, like a lot of the toasting
providers, they don't have like
static IPS or private network
networks or anything like that.
So if you wanna connect like Heroku
to your database has to be open.
General traffic, fly does have
private networking between all
of your applications and it's
possible to set up a VPN into it.
So you can connect private networks.
Ethan: country bridge is
working on a churn key way to
do that to their databases.
So I can have a VPN that connects my
database to my web servers, which is cool.
It's basically RDS Amazon RDS, but I have
to do even less, which I really like.
so I got that going.
Darby: So both of these
sound like, like bug.
It's not like a showstopper, it's just
bugs that haven't been resolved yet.
not having a database as a show stopper.
Darby: Well, I mean, it's not
a showstopper in that, like
it's impossible to solve it.
Ethan: oh yeah, no.
Darby: like, this is a bug that is
crashing your application today.
That can be fixed.
Ethan: As of recording, this is happening.
I suspect by the time this episode
gets released, it'll be fixed.
So technically not
technically I'll meet my goal.
by the time anyone listens to this,
Darby: there you go.
Ethan: be ready to go.
Darby: that's interesting.
Well, I mean, I think the, these are just
those, like those things that happen.
Darby: you know, I think that the
database one is an example of.
I mean, usually you would kind
of have this set up early on
in the process and you've just
switched it kind of last minute.
And this was like a, this was
a task that I knew I wanted to
do and I kept punting on it.
I should have done this weeks ago, but.
Darby: I mean, like, had you not done,
like, had you not started on this?
I would say just launch without
it and switch to it later.
Because there's no reason
you couldn't do that.
since, yeah, since you've already kind
of started down that, that path, it's
like, all right, well then just finish it.
Ethan: I did it before I had
anyone sign up because I didn't
wanna do a database migration.
So it's mostly just being lazy.
Darby: I'm trying to remember.
I'm pretty sure we did this
with lead, honestly, where we
launched on the Heroku, Postgres.
And we were, yeah, we
were like, what are we?
You get like 10,000 rows or something.
And it was like, ah, we won't
hit this limit for a while.
And then one day we hit it.
It's like, oh, whoops.
I guess we better move now.
And it was just like, you know, an hour
or two of downtime, but when you're
that early, no one really notices.
Ethan: Yeah, it doesn't matter.
luckily like that limit actually is
kind of good because it, we, you know,
we went over that early, early enough
that, you know, we didn't have that
many users to affect with the migration.
had that limit been like 10 X . It
would've been a lot more painful.
Ethan: That's true.
Darby: So yeah.
May, maybe Heroku should have made
that limit a little bit higher
to force people to have to stay
Ethan: Get people more sticky.
Darby: Yeah, exactly.
I mean, you know, It's not
live, but it will be soon.
Sounds like you're close.
So, what do you plan to do
to tell people about it?
Ethan: No, I don't know nothing at first.
Darby: Bold, bold launch strategy.
It's called a soft launch Darby.
Ethan: there's people
who listen to this thing.
Ethan: assuming a non-zero percentage
of people go to the site from there.
yeah, I dunno.
I don't know.
It's definitely like not in a
spot where I would do like product
hunt or anything like that.
Ethan: talked about before.
Like I have a lot, I have a lot
more stuff that I wanna build
before I even think about that.
Darby: you could do things just like post
about it on Twitter or something even.
And just to see if you can
get a couple people in there.
Like I think, even though you do have
a product roadmap that you've sketched
out, getting some people in there,
getting some feedback is pretty.
Because maybe it'll change the
direction of some of those things.
That seems that's.
I mean, that seems pretty likely,
I do think once I'm done with.
Like actually fixing this stuff up.
I'm gonna switch to doing every
other week, marketing versus coding.
And so, there's actually,
marketing week coding week.com
I think is actually a website.
Darby: Oh really?
Ethan: Oh no.
Darby: Coding week marketing, Mar
co coding week marketing week.com
oh, this is.
So it's coding week this week, right?
Ethan: so marketing week is next week.
yeah, I'm gonna, I think I would
just fall into that cadence.
Darby: yeah, I wish it would, tell
me what to do for marketing week.
Ethan: So a fun fact, the site does it,
but the guy who created it has a, like
an hour long YouTube video, he did,
about, ramping his business up to 30,000.
I think, and he has a slide that, lists
all the things that he does for market.
I'll let me find it.
I'll link to it in the show notes, but
Darby: Is it who's is this guy?
John Young Fu
It sure is.
He runs, uh, banner.
I've heard of banner bear.
Ethan: Yeah, it'll be like, so in this
case, it'll be what we talked about
before, like getting a blog post written,
working on the marketing page a little
bit more, tweeting, I guess that's
marketing, you know, that kind of stuff.
one strategy that I've seen, like people
talk about a lot, which I think you
might have, put me onto this a while
back is, responding to people in Quora.
Darby: that's one of the things that
we've done as marketing really, honestly.
Ethan: That apparently
works incredibly well.
So I might set a goal of answer.
10 core questions next week.
Darby: that, that was, so the strategy
that we took with that was, I'm
not even sure how many we answered.
I don't think it was that many,
but, we would do the answer and then
we would link to lead, honestly.
And then we put in UTM per.
into those links.
So we could track which, which
channels cuz we were doing.
I wanna say Reddit and Cora and
then, so we were tracking the source
and then the actual like post too.
Ethan: Oh, okay.
Darby: out which, which answer was driving
the question or driving the referral.
Oh, that's okay.
Darby: and then you can just like, keep
those in a spreadsheet or something.
Ethan: I am making a note of that.
That's a good idea.
I feel like that process took a lot
longer than I thought it would too.
Ethan: The process of answering it or the
process of getting the traffic from it.
Just like, you'd think like, oh, I could
just go answer a question quick and then
it's kind of like writing a blog post.
It just takes a lot longer.
Ethan: It's the same issue, right?
Like you want it to actually be
useful to the person who asked,
not just a way to dump a link
Darby: Dump your link onto another site.
Darby: well, cool.
yeah, I think it'll be cool to see.
You know, when things start happening,
when the door's open and you know,
kind of, I don't know, feedback you
get, and then how your plan changes
It will be fun.
Ethan: I'm excited to actually have
something that I could, like besides
being able to putts around coding.
Being able to putts around in marketing
and sales and all that kind stuff too.
Ethan: Just wanna do more putts in around
Darby: lots of puts in
Darby: good stuff.
Well, I'll be looking for your tweet
to announce the opening of the doors.
Ethan: oh yeah.
Switching gears a little bit.
so I'm doing that, Elixer
training in the end of next month.
I'm doing it a second time in
November at a different conference.
So even if this whole SAS thing
doesn't work, there's definitely,
a desire for the elixir.
The electric stuff that I got to sell.
could, is that, could you
make that into a product?
I can, like, I could pretty
easily turn it into a course.
and I think the other like likely way
that I could package it is a book,
Ethan: which is like a medium
length book on instrumenting
Alexa and early applications.
I don't know if this would make sense.
I don't know if there'd
be enough for this, but.
I don't know, newsletter crossed my mind.
I don't know.
I don't know if there's like
enough activity in the space
that this sort of thing people
would wanna like keep up with,
Ethan: I think there's enough stuff in.
The like general space that people
wanna, keep up with, but just like the
observability instrumentation part,
I don't think it moves fast enough.
Darby: Yeah, it's
Ethan: it did.
It, so I think that the specific part
of it I think is pretty useful to me.
so I was thinking about like, I was
thinking about like what I could
charge for something like this.
And I think my primary audience
probably would not be individuals.
It would be teams or organizations.
So I'm thinking of like the company I
work at now, if they wanted to train, if
they wanted to buy a course or buy a book,
They're gonna buy it for the whole team.
They're not gonna buy it for an
individual, which means I can
charge like team based pricing.
That's probably where like
my focus would be then.
And then like the, like the
thing that I could build off
of that would be consulting.
that's what I was just thinking is like,
there's probably like a ton of money
in, like consulting or onsite training.
And your book, or your course could
actually be almost a lead generator.
Ethan: Oh, that's a good way to phrase it.
Cuz like you want people to
kind of get, get interested
in it, but so many companies.
we would just be like, well,
you know, let's just pay to
bring Ethan here and teach us
That's a good idea.
Darby: Then you, oh man.
we could maybe cut this part out, but
then you could be like that guy from
Hawaii that did that training and
Ethan: Oh, yeah.
Darby: about how great his life
is and how much money he makes.
We might wanna cut that part up.
but yeah, we both worked at a company
a few years ago, who did, Mandatory
security training for compliance.
And they flew in yeah, like a, I
think at this point, a world expert
on security to give us some training.
I think they made 'em.
I think they made 'em
dumb it down a little bit.
Just so it checked some check boxes,
but same thing applies, right?
Ethan: if you're in the
spot where you're think.
You're either thinking about
instrumentation or, you know,
you need it because of the scale
you're running your elixir app ad.
it means that you're more than
likely gonna, you're willing to
put money to solve that problem.
If you've got enough scale
where this is that important.
and like probably in the grand scheme of
it, like the cost to hire someone to come
and teach your team, this is like nothing.
Darby: cuz you've got a team of, you know,
20 engineers that you're paying, you know,
Ethan: So we'll see.
I mean, yeah.
First things first, I gotta
actually do the training.
see what kind of feedback I get from that?
I'd also see like how well it sells.
Ethan: Like I don't, I haven't
seen any numbers or anything.
So I mean, if I, if we get there
and there's only, you know, zero or
one people that I know that there's
maybe not a market for it, but
Darby: I that's a good way
to gauge market though.
Darby: You know, some something
else you could do, like this
would be a pretty easy thing to.
You know, if you get enough feedback
from that makes you feel like there's
something here, like it'd be super
easy to make just a landing page.
Ethan: I already have the domain too, so
And just like, get that
up there and gather leads.
I should do.
I should do that.
I got too many projects now.
Darby: you know, the, oh, okay.
I'm remembering now cuz I this okay.
how long ago was this close?
17 years ago?
I don't remember a long time ago.
I was a PHP developer
cuz I needed the money.
and I was like trying to learn rails,
and I just like never had the time.
couldn't quite get there.
Didn't know anyone that knew it.
So I couldn't like learn from
other people cause I was just
kind of working on my own.
So I found this, this company that
was offering training courses, and
it was like, go to their office
for a week and they'll teach you
and kind of a small group setting.
and it was, I don't know, like
a thousand bucks or something.
And I was like, I really wanna learn this.
So I'm just gonna shell
this out and go do it.
So I did it and it was.
game changer, absolute game changer.
Cause I could focus on
it for a whole week.
Like I didn't do any project.
I didn't do any other side work that
week or anything just focused on it.
And they were like teaching me the
whole time, you know, kind of the
fundamentals and and then they could,
you know, answer my dumb questions that
were tripping me up and stuff like that.
but the way that it, the way
that it worked was like their
website had a schedule of
courses that they were running.
You know, and it was like, whatever our
next course is in, you know, six weeks.
So sign up now, you know,
there's X number of seats left.
and that was like, that was all it took.
It was just like, oh, okay.
This is on the calendar.
I have to do it by this date.
You know, I'm just gonna sign up and go.
and, and I, and so when I went to it,
it was, I don't know, there's maybe
10 people in the class, maybe 15.
I can't remember, but it.
, it was kind of that thing.
It was like, you know, two people from
this company, two people from that
company, you know, it was like companies
were just sending a couple people to this
thing and, you know, whatever the cost of
it was nothing for the, those companies.
Darby: and, but the way that the website
set it up, it was just like, you know,
had no one ever signed up for it.
It wouldn't matter.
And they wouldn't have to run the.
but you put it up there, you put it
out there in advance and then you
kind of create some time pressure, and
then, you know, see you, you can kind
of test the market that way, I guess.
Ethan: All right.
I, I think I'm gonna set
up a landing page for.
Ethan: I mean, I already have
two like upcoming things, right.
That I can link people So it's
really like, no, no work there's no,
it doesn't cause me any more work.
you could even position it like, to, you
know, whatever, upcoming classes, none
are scheduled yet, but sign up here to get
notified when we schedule the next one or
Darby: and then you just
build an email list that.
Ethan: All right.
Oh, this is good.
This is good.
I'm like kind of laughing
at myself right now.
Cause I'm taking notes.
but it's a recording, so
I don't have to do that.
Darby: you're gonna hear this
when you have to edit it.
all these are really good ideas.
I'll try to get that done for next week.
Ethan: Did you have
anything else for Leadon?
Darby: not really, the main, the other
main thing that we're working on.
we, caught up again with our marketing
folks and I think we're gonna get them
working on a lead generator campaign.
So we've got our downloadable
PDF lead generator.
Which I had instrumented in fathom
analytics so that we can track
views of that page to conversions.
And it's looking like it's
about two to 3% right now.
so that's pretty decent.
Think we've had like 10 in
Ethan: that's decent.
Darby: I mean, I don't know.
I suppose it could be better, but,
Ethan: Oh, I have no
frame of reference to now.
I think a couple percent on
something like that is pretty good.
Darby: but I don't know, maybe I'm wrong.
I do think there are, there's like
probably the call to action is too
far down on the page and stuff.
So I think there's maybe some tweaks
we could do there, but regardless,
having like 10 people that have
signed up in the last week, is
just like that's 10, 10 leads that
we're doing nothing with right now.
I think having that lead generator
campaign will net some results.
And that's really what I'm
looking forward to is let's
actually put this in place now.
Like we've done all this stuff
to set us up for now, starting
to do these tactical things.
In a few weeks, hopefully
we'll get that stuff back.
We can like build up the automations
and then actually start seeing
like that stuff in action.
and then I think then it's like, there's
a lot more kind of, mechanical things
happening that we can measure and, check
the effectiveness of like being able.
take those emails and
send 'em to those folks.
We can now track open rates on those
emails and click through rates on
those emails and stuff like that.
you know, even if people aren't signing
up, like we can see activity of those
people that we are like kind of sending
this to and be able to see something.
cuz right now it's a black box of like,
well they downloaded it and then maybe
signed up, you know, a month later or so.
but we don't really know what
happened from here to there.
So think a bit, I think there's
like more observability that happens
once we have that instrumented.
So, so that's kind of the other
thing that, that we're working on.
Ethan: That's cool.
what are you using to build that funnel?
Cause it's not fathom anymore than.
Darby: the, no, that will
be done in active campaign.
Ethan: Oh, right.
Darby: download the PDF and then yeah.
And then it's just a bunch of emails.
So we'll tr we'll track, click
through rates and open rates
and stuff in active campaign.
Darby: And then I think we can
do conversions in there too.
So once they sign up,
we can tie that back to.
whatever email, funnels that they've
been through and kind of, I think
there's a way to do that, where it
like tracks the conversion there.
Ethan: That would make sense.
Darby: so yeah.
We'll get that.
Get that going as well.
Ethan: Got anything else?
Darby: No, I think that.
All right, well we'll talk next week.
See you next week.