The other major thing I think from the burnout experience from us was understanding thatbusiness is a balance. It’s a game of balance, 100%. We were literally twelve to fifteen hours a day on the computer every day. Just focusing on work, ignoring other parts of our life, and the stress was so high. It was so bad that it eats you up and it destroys a lot of your mental brain power and your energy throughout the day. Recognizing that fitness, having time for the gym or running or whatever it is, eating right, spending time with your family. For me, spending time with my girlfriend, leisure time, whether that’s reading or for me, watching movies and stuff like that and allowing yourself in the time that you are working, a critical time to focus. Cut out all the other distractions, get what you need to have done and then you can move on to other things. That was a really big breakthrough for us.
It’s interesting when you put constraints on how much you’re going to work. It forces you to get focused. I love that word. We see that again and again and again when we’re working with a business. They’re in a position where they need to get new clients or they’re trying to get forward progress. They may come to us and they’re all scattered. They’re everywhere, if we can convince them. Sometimes it’s hard to convince an entrepreneur who thinks they need to do everything to get going, to get focused, but the minute that they focused, they speed up. It’s a little bit counterintuitive because you start to close off certain avenues, certain opportunities to focus on what you think is the most promising, but you make progress that much faster. The really interesting decision that you had to make, I know you went over it quickly you’re all the way through and then you’ve got to basically scrap all the work that you’ve done. You were a year into it at that point, or maybe a little more and invested a lot of money, too. What does it take to sit therewith your partner and say, “We can’t go any further with this. If we’re going to do this, we’ve got to start from scratch again.” That’s a big deal.
The real raw emotions we were going through was like nauseating, anxiety. Is this the right move? Is this not the right move? I don’t think there’s ever easy choices in those positions. You have two options and you just got to go with the one that you feel is best. For us, the long-term decision was if we’re going to play the long game, we got to go with technology that’s going to be the future technology. Not one that’s just safe now and it’s a safe route. If we really want to do this, we have to be on the cutting edge because there are so many other competitors out there. The decision-making process is hard. You have to ultimately say, “There may not ever be a perfect decision ever in business.” There’s not going to be like, “This decision is perfect and this one isn’t, so we’re going to take this decision.” You just take the facts that you have and the knowledge that you have at that moment. You just have to make the best decision that you think intuitively is going to be the best.
Sometimes you’re wrong, and that’s okay. You can be wrong when making these decisions. That’s a learning experience. You’re going to learn through and grow through it, but you’re going to take the facts that you have right now. Take some time to think about it, digest what you have on deck, and then make a decision and then live with that decision. That was for us and how we had to do it. It’s easy to say that now and look back, but it was a difficult decision. It was days of back and forth. It was days of talking to people and like clarity FM, like expert consultants and trying to get all these different opinions. At the end of the day, it was like, “This is a big company undertaking.” We had to tell our team and all that stuff. Once you make that decision, you got to be behind it 100% and then just go all in on it.
You started over and then went to build somethingreally more focused and smaller in scope. What was the catalyst for reigning it in a little bit?
One of the key things is that we now don’t even think about it just in a business perspective, but our own life perspective is the concept of simplicity. For us, Demioas a platform, we want it to be the simplest and easiest to use webinar platform. We want to get rid of technical overwhelm. We want to make it easy for you to engage with your audience. That’s our mission, creating simplicity. When we started to look at our platform and we saw not only why the technology was, but how big our platform had become and all the possible issues that could happen in different situations, this could happen, this could happen, this could happen, we said, “If our unique selling proposition and our values are based on simplicity, then we need to have the platform also mimic that same thing. We’ve put it into our own lives. That would be simplicity in our lives as well
That was the catalyst to do that. We pulled out a lot of features. We pulled out a lot of stuff. We said, “How do we just make this simple,? How to make this focused?” We want the user experience to be the key thing that talks a lot for our product. The simplicity aspect really paid off. It was a bet that we went on and when we had the beta customers come in, they loved it. They loved the fact that it was simple. They loved the fact that there’s not a thousand features that you may use one or two times in the history of your entire time in the platform. This has what you need when you need it and then we just built on the things that they wanted after that. I think the key thing was understanding what simplicity really meant. I think the guys over at base camp did a really good job with that as well. They make sacrifices in their product and they say, “These are the areas we’re not going to go. We’re going to be this and we’re going to be great at this and we’re going to be very simple when we do it.” We learned a lot from them.
I’ve used probably every webinar platform out there and done hundreds of webinars over the last ten years. That’s a spot in the market that doesn’t exist or didn’t exist before you staked it out. There is really nothing out there that’s simple. That has fewer but the right options in there. I want to talk more about Demio. I want to talk a little bit more about webinars. I’ve been hearing lately that webinars are dead and I’m sure you have an opinion on that.
We’re here with David Abrams of Demio. We’re talking about this transition you made from your first version of the product where you had to scrap it and refund customers money. Rebuild and relaunch with this much similar version that is what people will see in Demio now. You’re making some big bets there. You’re betting first of all on webinars as a means for people delivering their message and you’re also betting that people will come to this and say, “I want a tool that doesn’t have every bell and every whistle.” You’ve been out with that version for about a year now, what’s the response been and what’s your take on this whole idea that webinars are dead that we start hearing now?
The feedback for us has been incredible. Every time you’re building a company, basically, you have an MVP. You have a hypothesis of what you think is going to work. No matter what plan you create, you’re going to learn by customer validation. That’s the only way you’re actually going to know, “Is my product solving a pain? Am I doing this right? Is this what they need?” You need to learn and you adapt. For us, we made this hypothesis that simplicity was going to work and simplicity was what people needed because that’s what we wanted. This bet paid off really well. The feedback has been fantastic. People love simplicity. We do have some people that want specific features.
Now, we record all the features that they want and we notate who asks for them and how many people. Then we look at, “When we plan out future releases, what are the features that we need to add in? What are the things that are important to our users?” That’s not possible to do, not every feature, but what are the key ones that add value that we can also do in a simple way? It’s not just, “They want this feature, let’s throw it on.” It’s, “Let’s think about this critically. How do we make this even simpler? How do we make a feature that they want work better or give them more results?” A lot of what we do takes deep thought behind it. I think people really liked that. I think this is a good lesson, is that removing technical overwhelm from people is always a great thing. What people want is the result of your software. They want to go in there, get whatever result or solution that you’re offering. They don’t want to go in there and play with software for30 minutes and try to figure something out just to get an end result that helps them in some way. They would rather get in there quickly and easily, knock it out, and then be on to do something else. Nobody wants to play with your software. They just want to get the results.