Key topics in today’s conversation include:
The SaaS Ramp Podcast explores how tech leaders scale from product adoption to enterprise success. Learn more at www.saasrampmedia.com.
Pete Thornton 0:06
Hey everybody, welcome back to The SaaS Ramp Podcast. I’m your host, “Podcast Pete.” Still cracks me up every time I say that. I’m here with special guest today, Alex Fotta. Alex Fotta and ariseROI arise, enabling full-stack development software shop, and much, much more unbelievable amounts of things come in to Alex and his team. So we want to definitely unpack that. So I’ll see what is what this first question just brings us. The first like, let I’m being rude. Welcome to the show. Welcome to show.
Alex Fotta 0:38
Hey, thanks for having me on today. My name is Alex. One of the managers founders principles wherever you want to, you know, call me sometimes web developer at ariseROI. We wear a lot of hats. And yeah, we do everything from sem sites, SEO sites, e-commerce to keynote the nitty-gritty development, iOS, Android development, for bigger projects and clients.
Pete Thornton 1:00
This is what I’m talking about. Okay? Yes, a lot going on in every time I’ve ever spoken to you. It’s like a new a new thing, a new project. And they’re all really kind of interesting. Okay, so you call yourself a founder, but like, all those things that you just went through are things that will happen? Like, in any given day, I assume? Like, would you just break those out for us?
Alex Fotta 1:23
Yeah, so I started off, got a position at an internship there back in college, and, you know, for 10 weeks ended up staying got a contract gig after the 10 weeks. And, you know, the rest of school was history at that point. At the time, we’re doing lead generation, high volume, Google, spend all that kind of stuff off to the affiliates, running, you know, dozens of sites on a Ruby on Rails stack for these guys over in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And I was there for seven years, one of those things, I didn’t really realize, when I started after my internship, because at the time they were going through an acquisition, so you know, little me, okay, well, they’re gonna, they’re gonna buy this company, and everyone, excluding the guy that just turned from an intern from a contractor, see you later type thing. So, you know, I learned a lot there. Just, you know, things like, you know, not so much on the SEM side, but how affiliate marketing works, lead generation process flows, have had some great managers there that, you know, really, I’d say, like, guided me into how, you know, my day to day and what good management looks like, and that kind of thing, but from, you know, from there, learning how to build websites, you know, get them deployed super fast. And then, you know, through this, these acquisition periods, you know, we got acquired three times, there’s a split from ADP, ADP split, and then we got bought out at ADP. So a lot of management structures, and I’m like, the guy at the bottom of the pocket, so I just don’t know what’s gonna go on. So through the time, they’re always running side projects, you know, building custom delivery service apps, things like that, like anything I could on the side, just to So like, if this thing just went sour, you know, see you later, a couple 100 people, you know, I had something that was already I had a foundation that I could build off of that was, you know, making some money, so that I wouldn’t just be like, you know, like, shit out of luck, you know, say, lately. And, yeah, seven years later, it wasn’t until we got a new CEO. You know, at that point, the stocks were sliding down, and, you know, heading towards the Penny, Penny Stock off, you know, off the stock market range. And, you know, that’s finally when things kind of got cut. And, you know, that was fine. I was like, Well, it’s been a good ride. I’ve been expecting this for five or six years. So at this point, you know, I was working on a lot of different things in Massachusetts, between getting licenses for cannabis businesses and stuff like that. And that was more on the business. Like, you know, I was doing development for applications I was working on selling and then also doing like business management, making sure you know, licenses or getting rid in all this corporate structure stuff and, you know, trying to figure out what’s what I’m gonna do next because I just, you know, I really enjoyed, like when you start work like 1012 hours a day, which is great, and then you kind of, you know, it scales back as you move up the ladder. And I just, I had a really hard time seeing myself back at a new position push putting in those, you know, for proper price that I wasn’t really, you know, that particularly overjoyed about so, you know, through time, you know, through working in the cannabis industry and some other you know, deal with someone doing some other custom one-off projects, I met people that were basically investors that were like, hey, I need this done. And, you know, whatever you need to do to get this team built and executed. Do it. And I’m like, Alright, great, perfect. So why You know, patiently now I’m just sitting between investors and project owners, business partners, because everything’s either, you know, it’s either cash equity or some combination of both. We’re running about five or six projects at this point, everything from E-commerce, you know, we have about 10 ecommerce sites, a couple new things like on the insurance industry, in the financial industry, we’re doing, like, different types of lending, social borrowing, and then, you know, automation of, you know, insurance claims that are basically you know, people that are, you know, things like, if you get a storm, there’s this thing called a public adjuster, which I learned a few years ago, and they basically fight your insurance company. So those guys talk to them during, you know, not so good time. And they’re like, hey, like, we’ve seen some of the, you know, we’ve looked at some of your projects, and we’re like, do you think you can automate this for us? And, you know, scale it up? So it’s nationwide? So we’re not just targeting the small market? You know, sure, whatever, we can just hire those teams do that kind of thing. And, you know, here we are today. And, yeah, it’s been a pretty wild ride a lot of ups and downs on a lot of projects.
Pete Thornton 6:07
Those are some twists and turns right there. Like, I guess we will have to unpack it, we’ll start at the beginning a little bit. So I’m understanding that all of your success today is based on your excellent college education. Is that is that the way that started? A four-year degree?
Alex Fotta 6:23
I probably did kind of good in computer science. But the other classes I needed to finish college probably weren’t gonna happen biology, chemistry, sorry, not interested in not gonna happen. But, you know, when I found this internship, I kind of, you know, I basically had this, this manager interview for my internship that said, hey, like, you don’t do Ruby on Rails, but you’re gonna learn it in two months, or, you know, you’re only gonna last two weeks, I’m like, Okay, we’re gonna get, we’re gonna get going on this. But, you know, it turned out to be they, you know, they were pretty, not easy. I mean, but they started really slow. And by the end of the time, I was there, you know, I had a senior developer title, and was managing, you know, most of the top down major migrations of data centers. You know, we literally moved to a server room, maybe 20 by 20 feet across the country. One we can just doing things to the Rackspace and you know, full stack, so I was doing more towards the end, I was doing more than just the development, but was also doing, you know, some of the IT tasks like, you know, finding servers cruisers provisioning, that deploying apps, creating a, you know, just a lot more some networking.
Pete Thornton 7:31
What year were you in? Was this like at sophomore year beyond or anything like that, or?
Alex Fotta 7:38
Yeah, so from I think, actually, you know, this would have started, right before he turned 22.
Pete Thornton 7:44
Okay, so you made it, you are through the way I just I’m always curious about the educational component, because like, it’s like, everybody’s like, alright, made it into a good college. Now it’s time to quit and become successful. Yeah, because you know how that goes. And a lot of cases, it’s just like, once, especially once you have an opportunity that beckons and is a little bit more alluring than just doing whatever else was, was about to happen in like a more traditional institution.
Alex Fotta 8:05
I mean, I’ll put on any hat. So I mean, when I started there, I was building marketing flyers on top of fixing up, you know, the current sites, and then you know, the big thing that really caught their eye was I built a, a way to easily provision affiliate sites. So if you signed on a new affiliate that’s running 10s of 1000s, or hundreds of 1000s of emails a month, they might want their own branded site. And my contribution was, I just built a templating application so that, you know, they could get they could fill out 100-page questionnaire that’s like company name, logo, simple stuff, they wanted the website, you feed it into a file, and then you know, an hour later, you’d have we’d have our same lead generation workflow with a whole new look and feel. And that was huge because affiliates back in the day before they really kind of cracked down and some of these email spam lawyers started floating around the space that was a huge revenue driver for these companies that were looking to get acquired during that time.
Pete Thornton 9:04
Okay, so you found a mechanism for revenue like pretty early on. Or your contribution to revenue, essentially.
Alex Fotta 9:11
They’re currently doing it but just like the from getting like the information that you fill it to like actually having the site was like just a longer time so this kind of short route of that so if they wanted one of these you know, we had a few different templates kinda like WordPress you just slap in the text the logo and you know you’re off to the races all the tracking stuff on the back end was done down to which publisher affiliate ID all that kind of stuff.
Pete Thornton 9:38
Yeah, nice. Okay, cool. All right. So then, in that role, like you kind of thought you were gonna be gone like, almost from like the word go like you were there seven years, but like, you had that thought process after like 90 days that this might not last?
Alex Fotta 9:54
Yeah, just because my father worked in the tech industry and You know, I’ve always been pretty close, you know, listening to how things go on that side. So just when you hear acquisition, you kind of sometimes just think headcount cuts just because, you know, trimming the fat but I, you know, more recently in my years, I’ve learned that it’s sometimes you actually need those people, that means business. And we got acquired and all the people that had equity and like, stock, some sort of payout, they got what they once they got what they wanted, they’re just like, you know, on to the next startup or big thing, and they actually relied on people like me, you know, who had touched, you know, a lot of their systems to stay and make sure that one day something went wrong, or, you know, things need to continue running to hit targets that there was some there, they had some knowledge. And, you know, my knowledge was basically was pretty much limited to how the sites were architecture, how the updates went, you know, that kind of thing, not so much on strategic business, you know, movements and stuff like that. But through some of these, they actually, you know, some of the, you know, short-sighted reasons why they acquired us was just to take us all out of the bidding market, bidding landscape, you know, because we were maybe seen as competitor, which they later found out wasn’t true. But, yeah, I mean, that stuff was just a different, you know, we had engineering optimization, and then, you know, a marketing team, so I was, you know, handled most of the engineering tasks.
Pete Thornton 11:31
Yeah, that’s interesting because he’s a valuable component to it close enough to the actual tasks that are happening without having, like, all the equity and like a reason to leave or something like that.
Alex Fotta 11:40
Yeah, but you’re so far now you don’t really know, you know, once you get acquired, you get pushed down, like, your manager now has new manager and, you know, all that kind of stuff, then, you know, the information from the top doesn’t really make it down to those dark places, sometimes, you just got to sit there and be like, alright, if tomorrow is my last day, like, what, like, I’m always thinking, What’s next, you know, I don’t want to be put in a situation where, you know, back then, um, a younger guy, you had a pretty, pretty affordable apartment, downtown Cambridge, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. But, you know, I don’t, I like to, you know, make sure that we have Flint, there are plans made, you know, something like that.
Pete Thornton 12:22
So I’m curious, too: when economic downturns come like, software always kind of comes in and gets, like, super creative. And there are ways to like, you know, there are always innovations that kind of come out of a down market. So like, You were almost having this little, little miniature potential down market surrounding you for like, seven years, I was just like, curious if like this overhanging cloud of acquisition after acquisition was like driving you to innovate on the side with your side projects?
Alex Fotta 12:47
Yes and no. Some of the decisions were just like, hey, we’re doing this or that, and, you know, our business unit, you know, the company or, you know, whatever they are, that was acquired, like, we had the data and knowledge that, like, that wasn’t going to work out for them. But we’re, you know, we tried to explain it didn’t, you know, didn’t really get the point across. And eventually, they, you know, after 300 people or so got laid off, we left, but yeah, I mean, there wasn’t as much innovating, it was more just expecting the same result with limited budgets, you know, less sites and more oversight. So it’s harder to move, but I’m on my side. Yeah, I mean, innovation, like to, I want to be coding for the rest of my life. You know, that’s the innovation in my head is, you know, what do I want to do next? If this falls through, how am I gonna position position myself to get into that spot? So that, you know, if I don’t have a job tomorrow, like, I might already have a foot in the door to what I want to do, you know, next week or next month or next year?
Pete Thornton 13:49
Yeah, yeah, totally. Okay. Yeah, that does make sense. And that’s maybe like a little like why you had those side things. You might have had them going on anyway. But like, the I was curious if that would contribute. So fast forward to today, like you were starting to get into it. But I was like, do we, you’re gonna have to, we’re gonna have to like, first. So you said 10. Just tell us what you’re doing today. Like, what number of businesses like what are these aspects that are contributing to that to the hypergrowth like, just kind of laid out all the stuff you’ve got now.
Alex Fotta 14:22
On the SEM sites, SEO and SEM. So we have a couple of sem sites, which are just, you know, remarketing to them and getting great returns. A lot of that’s all honestly just, you know, site optimizations for getting shorter conversion paths, working on the funnel, and then more or less just using Google Optimize to make sure you’re getting the best segment of traffic possible. And then just cranking up the budgets once you can turn them profitable. That’s, that’s a little bit of the smaller side and then on the other side we have in the cannabis industry. We have maybe anywhere from four to seven of the top brands out on the West Coast that we’re representing for marketing, as well as our own house brand that we’re doing genetics, the genetics, and so that the license, the ones that companies that we’re working on doing their marketing stuff, it’s just strictly marketing emails, product drops, that kind of stuff, managing online presence. And then for the house brands, we have full SEO team with the prod Content Manager, and then about five writers under him. And that’s more or less like, the goal there is to get to a point where we have so much Google traffic, that it’s just passive, that we’re just, you know, getting hundreds, if not 1000s of sales every month, okay? Just because the way SEO works is you invest in it, and then it kind of pays back later. Once you get your rankings up. Once you move up Google search result pages, the intent gets higher. It’s there is maintenance, of course, to maintain those rankings, whether it’s, you know, continuing to find backlinks or continuing targeted articles, stay Google kind of webs your site in a way that it’s like, okay, this is valuable content, we want to show this to people search for this. And then there’s obviously marketing on that side. So emails, all that kind of stuff. And then on the software side, we have another team, that’s more or less we have customers that want iOS apps, Android apps, software’s that service apps, so you know, whether it’s reading PDFs with AI, and then you know, making some sort of calculated output, or, you know, marketing tools that are hitting like 50 to 100 million actions a month for Pickney performers.
Pete Thornton 16:47
So I’ll break this down in a say, and there’s an interesting thing with what you do with this kind of like, what happens in more like my corporate world as well, but, but first, like, what you just mentioned about those things? Do people come to you and ask like, Hey, can you solve this problem? Do they bring a challenge, like a business challenge, and just ask if there’s like a development thing that you’d do?
Alex Fotta 17:06
Yeah, and like, the thing is, is that so I lived in Europe for about six years and met a lot of people between Barcelona and Berlin, and just through my travels, that do a lot of different things, whether it’s software development, or just general knowledge that can be relied on in. It’s not really a lot of people, it’s just, it’s actually like two or three people that just really liked the products I produce. And they have more ideas that they want to execute on. And I have time that data like recently manage, just because staffing is like one of the biggest things is you always need to make sure that you have the right teams that are always working. And, you know, there’s such a wide range of tasks that we have, like, we have people that we continue to use, but sometimes we get into situations where like, we don’t have the bandwidth on the current teams, we need to go find someone that can cover like that section of the business, and, you know, maybe has some drive that, you know, once they’ve got that champion, then we can move them, you know, we can broaden that out a little bit to give them more responsibilities in that realm. And, yeah, but I mean, it’s really just a few people that are like, Hey, we got one site, you know, three weeks later, hey, you know, he’s got a great call, whether it’s, you know, these five guys want to sign on with us through our platform, you know, like, you know, through that partnership I have with that investor, or, you know, the other guys are like, hey, this would be another great app, we should execute. And then, you know, I’m sitting there digging through my phone, and, you know, wherever else I look, trying to find the, you know, whether it’s one or five or eight guys to start executing those tasks and can have weekly meetings and progress reports and getting it done.
Pete Thornton 18:57
Okay, so that summary in there. There are like four corollaries. Now, so interesting. So like, You got SEO SEM, we got, we got the cannabis brands, whether it’s marketing or whether it’s like the genetics piece, and then like, and then software development, creation, like the kind of things that you’re just unpacking.
Alex Fotta 19:15
So the SEO SEM, that’s most of that accounts for most of the cannabis brands. Okay, you websites that aren’t cannabis related, which are just, you know, pet projects that are really easy to put on the internet and, you know, just some drop shipping plays that you know, just net pretty good passive returns, super low difficulty.
Pete Thornton 19:41
Give an example because I’m thinking about one right now.
Alex Fotta 19:44
So we have one of the brands we just have a we have a rug brand where we’re importing European pelts and we have a luxury site and we do a lot of automated outreach, just, you know, and we do like big Google, and it’s just one of those things where we get orders every week. Good enough to you know, just have, you know, keep reinvesting in.
Pete Thornton 20:11
This was one of the first things that like, like when I met you, I was like, So what do you do? How’s it go? Oh, you’re in taxi. Okay, that’s excellent. And it was when you told me about this.
Alex Fotta 20:20
I wanted to help people, you know, size them up a little bit. And then I’m like, you know, just kidding. You know, pick something that they might find interesting.
Pete Thornton 20:28
And so that’s what I brought home. I was like, hey, you know, Alex, you know what he does? And then Kendall knew all about Wayfair Yeah, of course, I know. Like, so. That was just that was when I was just like, but there, it just kept on spilling out, like all these different things at this project.
Alex Fotta 20:44
It’s really easy to deploy this stuff, just because like if you’re doing, you know, Home Products, there’s like a million in one marketplaces, you can list your stuff on to get brand exposure, it’s free, the biggest time crunches, just getting everything listed. So like, you know, for most products, cannabis, he’s a completely different animal because you can’t advertise on Google and you can’t get traditional banking for them. Or you can, it’s just extremely difficult. There’s a lot of red tape. But, you know, if you’re selling something like household goods, or some sort of drop shipping good like, Walmart, Amazon, fair, Etsy, Bonanza, eBay, your own website, there’s a lot of places that are like super high traffic, that as long as your pricing is good, and your presentation is good. There are people just buying this stuff a week over a week. And it’s not really an art sell, as long as you had a margin you’re satisfied with, in most of the margins, we shoot for like, three to three to 10x. Really on our products.
Pete Thornton 21:43
Wow, wow. Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s, it’s so interesting. So this isn’t like, like this is a slightly different space are like different conversation in some ways than the typical ones I have, because like, we’ll have like these, like, it’ll be more like, just corporate style, you know, it’ll be like, like, my company, for example, is like series D 650. Employees. So it’s still a startup, but it’s in a bit of a different realm. And but the thing is, or there’s like, there’s like the things you’re mentioned, there’s like four distinct things that overlay. So like product lead growth, like product lead growth is for anybody who’s not in SaaS is like, where you’re gaining some kind of access or experiencing value from the product, before you ever encounter any kind of like payment or larger payment, or you can opt into additional layers of it. So some of the things that you’re doing are like value creation before, like payment acceptance, pretty much? Is that kind of accurate?
Alex Fotta 22:40
That’s yeah, it’s kind of how it has, I mean, that’s just how, you know, we run everything starts with an idea. And then, you know, it’s just how we’re gonna get this thing distributed, distributed, or, you know, get to the finish line, we have a pretty good core team. Like I said before, there are two different sides, there’s software, and then there’s just like, e-commerce, e-Commerce Guys work on any site, software, guys are kind of siloed into their own projects, we have internal team members. And then sometimes, like, we don’t really do a lot iOS and Android. So we have a, a team that, you know, they’re not my salary toys, that they just, you know, they’ll get assigned a project, and they’ll complete it, and then I’ll just meet with their project manager once, twice, three times a week, make sure all the project boards look good. And, you know, just do the checks before we get on calls with people that are, you know, want to see it. And make sure that, you know, we are moving towards the goal line.
Pete Thornton 23:36
Yeah, yeah. Awesome. And then I know you said there’s a lot of offerings of like credits to do things before there’s ever any kind of like, paid, paid return on some of the products, or maybe some of the newer products or something like that.
Alex Fotta 23:48
Yeah, so we have just through running a lot of these sites, we, you know, you obviously, call yourself doing a lot of the same tasks over and over and you’re just like, you know, we’re a small lean team. And, you know, with a tech background, and, you know, a handful of guys that are, you know, doing anything from Node view, Python, you know, whatever language we’re using on apps, we find that we can, you know, we’ll first you know, for example, I scripted a tool that was for cold outreach, which is for, like, extremely targeted or single, like, you know, getting personal emails and sending them automated emails, follow-ups and all that stuff. It’s something we use on one of our projects and is extremely valuable. We’re getting like a 40% open rate with like a 30% closed rate which a lot of other areas I work in those numbers are kind of unheard of, I don’t know if it’s unheard of for cold emails, like open everyone open stuff legitimate the guy that’s selling you know, some SEO package in your inbox, you’re gonna read it, okay, cool, but you know, what percentage of those people actually respond and you know, hand you a credit card or you know, some a contract, whatever it is, so, These tools, some of them, they started as scripts, we’re running them internally, you know, serpent, like, which surfing which is going on Google and scraping results, and then you know, doing some sort of deep dive to harvest the leads, you want auditor there, we’ve actually we’re turning into just more products. Because it’s just one of those things where we realize or identify that, like, we’re using it one way, but this fraud, it can be used so many different ways, whether you’re trying to get your product into a store. So for example, like when it’s, you know, for this seat sites, we might be reaching out trying to find guest posts on blogs, whereas, you know, another company might use it to get their rugs into furniture stores, or, you know, commercial.
Pete Thornton 25:43
Yeah, yeah, that’s cool. I love that like tool is like broad applicability. There was a consensus, like, created a tool, basically, like all of his companies are like, a tool used to create other interesting things like It’s like overlays to big databases, or they’re, like Single Sign On type things. They’re things that are like applicable to multiple other applications.
Alex Fotta 26:08
You can cut your actions down by like 1000-fold because instead of there’s no like copy and pasting, it’s kind of just you enter in a search query, it just returns like her any emails you specify. And that’s, you know, we obviously have a whitelist and black lists where we don’t want to return results off like Yelp, Wayfair, Yelp, Yelp always comes up every search because they just have a super high domain rating. And there’s usually something out there for whatever you’re searching. But yeah, I mean, it’s just product improvement, you know, getting better filters, finding different strategies to get connections and closes.
Pete Thornton 26:45
I want to make a general is that I’ll take two of them and put them together. You also mentioned just a global workforce, and then remote New Hire like remote hires. So like working across the globe, different time zones, it’s trying to try and work on staffing in projects.
Alex Fotta 27:04
I’ve been doing this for probably the global staffing thing for about eight years. So you know, back when I thought I was going to be getting let go, my salary, I couldn’t afford to hire people in the US without giving them equity. And people in the US don’t want equity unless they believe in it. And maybe I was the only one that believed in it. So basically, what just, you know, I was looking around, I’ve got a team over in India. And yeah, it’s basically working from you know, eight or nine until five or six going to get some dinner, you know, Shep hanging out, and then 10 3011 would roll around and those guys in India would be waking up. And I would be, you know, we had our boards laid out, okay, this what we’re doing today, I go to sleep, you know, maybe we’re midnight wake up at six or seven. Checking with them. What do you guys do today, when we get done, you know, extremely hands-on trying to understand how because I did like, super aggressively manage my spend because there wasn’t endless at that point. So making sure that the work that was done every day was like the most efficient way to get to like the starting line, or to like our first dollar event as the crew. At that point, I was living still living in Cambridge. And then, you know, once I moved, I met a lot more people. You know, these are guys that I’ve met at maybe an expat bar and they’re talking about something that’s in the same industry, we have a conversation, I realized that, like, there’s a whole market out there that’s doing just this, and I tell one of my buddies that, you know, has a bunch of shops on the West Coast. And he’s like, these guys want some jobs are like, you know, how’s that work? And, you know, at that point, they just got that whole team, which is the management teams. You know, one of our bigger competitors I’m not allowed to say that but they weren’t very happy with their jobs. And we just gave them the jobs that they wanted for things they wanted. And now we have a very happy team working on that project. And it’s the two different the differences there was like we do more like at the time we’re doing more brand work so these are specific established brands like your Budweiser is you know your craft beers or whatever were these other guys we’re dealing with more your generic spraying Ray across the like, they were selling super generic products in the industry, but it was there’s a lot there just in cannabis people are searching around strange they’re enjoying are buying at their local shops. And these other guys were basically capturing all this people in the US that didn’t know which brands to go to. And you know, ranking first on Google leaflet, you know, whatever, and getting low sales, and we wanted a piece of that market. So We hired a team for it. And we’re about a year in and scope pretty solid. I mean, our SEO, we’re getting about 200,000 impressions a month, which is, it’s it doesn’t sound like a lot. But if you look at how many impressions we were getting, like, you know, earlier this year, January, once we had our first content sets, first cross with Google, like, we’re literally in the hundreds. So, you know, if you look at the graph, it is an exponential curve. And it’s just we’re getting to the exciting point, because we’re starting to see, you know, income or revenue every, every single day with just because we’re on Google, where we’re raking in the content we’re producing.
Pete Thornton 30:40
Awesome, awesome. Yeah. Yeah, I love I do have my team’s India side. Love them and we do the same thing we wrap that day round and round and round.
Alex Fotta 30:49
You get in a flow. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, so if you want to get Indian or any other outsources whether it’s Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Bangladesh, the one we have, yeah, I mean, you can get ones that work on the ES T, our whatever time zone you’re in, in the United States, but like, that’s not really I don’t, it’s not required, because that’s, I don’t, I wouldn’t want to do that. I mean, I understand that there’s, they might be getting great. Hey, but just the work-life balance thing. Yeah, have these guys working in the midnight, they might have families and stuff like that. And then the other thing I’ll mention, regarding outsources that, like, over the last seven or eight years, you’ve kind of identified different countries or areas that are better at certain things. So India, Pakistan, so any of Pakistan or like the lower end of development, and you move up to the Ukraine and Russia, those guys are a little more skilled, closer to the American skill set, you know, obviously, price here closer the American pay. And then, you know, if you go down towards Philippines, Malaysia, like some of those southern island countries, you get a lot of people that are into data, you know, they do data entry, data farming, there are some good graphic design firms down there. So you kind of like, over the years, these are like things I’ve learned, like, if you want someone that does this, like, these are the places that you want, and then this, these countries are also like, you’re gonna find solid people there. And it’s not just that, but like, also knowing, like, what popular, what percentage of the population is speaking English, you know, so they can successfully execute the job, because one of the biggest issues you can have is that if you can’t communicate effectively with the person you’re hiring, then you’re not going to get the deliverable you’re gonna get is not what you’re looking for. So that’s just, you know, one of the other management things that you just need to screen for.
Pete Thornton 33:02
Yeah, okay. Totally makes sense on that side, too. And then, and then partnerships is another thing. So like it, I mean, everywhere you go, you’re gonna have to partner with somebody, like, there’s going to be some kind of collaboration happening somewhere, like in postman and the company I work for, like, it’s 20 million developers utilizing it. I know, you know, what it is like elsewhere in the world all the time, as well. So that’s, that’s a great number of partnerships. And then of course, we’ll have our like, enterprise partnerships with Fortune 100 500 companies, it’s a little bit different. So there’s the sales end, you mentioned, like two or three people that just know you do good work, and we’ll just, like, reach out to you repeatedly, we got a new project?
Alex Fotta 33:40
Yeah. There are two people, but it’s really the projects we’re working on, you know, the, where I see them in like, three to five years, if we keep going in this track is somewhere, you know, hopefully, you know, cannabis could be a nine-figure, or, you know, 100 million dollar valuation, if we have distribution of all these brands, so not quite a billion, but those industries, you’re getting, like 40x, multiples, sometimes on acquisition. So something where like, on that side, I don’t want to take on any more work, because I’m already spread pretty thin. Personally, I’d have to hire another one of me or, you know, get someone to basically step up and do my day-to-day, which is just a lot of phone calls, and making sure people are, you know, completing tasks. And then on the other side, it’s, it’s the same thing. You know, you can only have so many developers and report to so many different people that it’s just, you know, insurance innovation, I feel like is a pretty area right now, as well as like pharmaceutical innovation as well as financial. So it’s just it’s another one of those verticals where you’re like, if this goes well then like I shouldn’t be working on other products. chicks in here respectfully, if you’re getting 20 or 30%, of the project and equity, and no cash, then you really shouldn’t be spending at least like 40 to 60% of your time on that project. So that’s kind of like, you know, more is not always better, like I’d rather have, you know, I manage personal relationships with these people as well, as well as the team. So, you know, it’s, I just feel like, I’d be doing my clients a disservice if, you know, I just started picking up as many projects as I could because I wouldn’t have enough time to, like, carefully manage their projects. And, you know, from the start, I, you know, I know a lot, I know, a lot of the things I need to do for these things, but I still, you know, you gotta treat the money, like it’s yours, you know, be super frugal, innovate where you can to make things easier for you and your team. Just you can get to market as fast as you can, and, you know, turn things profitable, because that’s once you start making money, that’s the most exciting part of the ride.
Pete Thornton 35:57
Yeah, so cool. Yeah, the common growth challenge right there, what you just kind of outlaid, it’s just like work in the time that you have to be expend or hire for and ramp people into it. But this has kind of been like a, like, some of this is like a personal growth journey, like talking about coming directly out of college into an internship through massive acquisitions into having like, you know, a number of global remote hires. So if somebody was, you know, maybe in college knew a few code languages themselves, trying to figure out what they might do with that and eventually, maybe you could even understand like, being in spot you’re at right now, with a great number of businesses, a lot of upward potential mobility, you have any kind of like parting tip you might give that person or that organization?
Alex Fotta 36:46
There’s a million problems out there that need to be solved, a lot of them people don’t even know. So if you did provide value somewhere. That is not that there’s not a lot of attention on or make someone’s you know, whether it’s project or product easier, or, you know, make their business easier, because like I originally, you know, when I started, I was Coke, like, you know, cold outreaching, to local businesses that just had poor websites, and just offering like, you know, to kind of like innovating wherever you can, like, you really can just find any type of business and, you know, just give some, you know, some found advice on, you know, how you could easily scale it up extremely fast. You know, if they’re coding, then, yeah, it probably would be something along the lines of automating a super monotonous tasks that people do every day in an industry. And the way that tech works is that there’s already a lot of pieces floating around the internet, sometimes all you have to do is just combine them, like some of our products are more or less, five already well-known companies, we just compile their data in different ways. And, you know, create an output, that’s an aggregate of all those super enchanted. Yeah. For those like, you know, you can, you can get into a specific niche, but you can also like, take a step back and think like, how can you give this product multiple phases, so it can be used by like, a much greater amount of people, because then that opens up your market, how many people you can sell it to.
Pete Thornton 38:14
That’s interesting. So I’m hearing like, find a unique business problem. So it’s a, it’s a problem, the more unique, the better. And then like aggregating a solution, like taking what’s already created, if you can kind of curating it, or repackaging it into a solution, if possible, just for the efficiencies, that’s it.
Alex Fotta 38:34
If you can kind of meld other things together, you can get licenses for you’re gonna get to market much faster. Were some of these things were just you were paying for the subscriptions internally, and you can license them to like for commercial products. And so the biggest part of that product was like, after stringing them together, making sure we were getting the outputs is building the consumer-facing site. So it’s an actual tool that people can use, because right now, it’s just something command line, that, you know, you literally just type in a search query that’s getting sent to Google. And then, you know, 30 to 30 seconds to 60 seconds later, you just have an output in a CSV somewhere on your computer. So you know, go through all those flows. So that someone like that wants to use the tool that doesn’t have any coding experience can enjoy the tool features without wigging out with a pretty easy-to-use interface.
Pete Thornton 39:29
Man, I mean, the phone existed before the iPhone so and you know, all that stuff, like if you can, a little UI UX help is helpful for all this would be great. If I didn’t tell you the beginning, but we try to stick it to 25 minutes. So we finished up we’ve wrapped that thing. That’s a lot of content. That’s a lot of interesting, unique insights. I mean, we could go again for hours, but that’s cool, because we got some recording to do in the future. Let’s check it out with you in but let’s see what the eight figures looks like well, let’s check in in three years. I hope so. Yeah. Cool, Alex. Thanks, man. This has been great.
Alex Fotta 40:07
It’s been a pleasure. See you soon.