Ep. #1111 - The Future of Remote Investing
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, the future of remote investing is opened for discussion. Matt DeCoursey says hello to Johnny Wolff, CEO and Founder of HomeRoom, and gathers the pro’s insights. They also talk about the merits of joining a Y Combinator, the power of effective elevator pitches, and having the right investing mentality.
Covered In This Episode
Can remote investment give you peace of mind? How short should your elevator pitch be? Why should you stick to consistently making improvements over time?
Matt and Johnny are here to discuss the pointers you need to hear. They also discuss how having peace of mind and being passionate help you succeed.
Take a short break from your daily routine. Learn more from this Startup Hustle episode.
- Johnny’s entrepreneurship backstory (02:03)
- The benefits of using HomeRoom (05:23)
- Is YC worth it? (08:53)
- Crafting your own elevator pitch (10:53)
- Remember: people buy the benefits (18:53)
- The future of remote investing (21:56)
- Selling peace of mind (23:51)
- The psychology of investing (26:10)
- Open AI is breaking down language and coding barriers (31:30)
- On being passionate about what you are doing (40:53)
Our startup got way better just prepping for YC because we didn’t get in the first time we applied. We got in the second. And so the preparation got us to think about metrics that matter.– Johnny Wolff
The elevator pitch, people, is to lead with the need. You got to get someone’s attention right away. It’s the same thing with the hook on your social media or the chorus of a cool song.– Matt DeCoursey
You can make improvements every day and stack them up. And you can be in a much better place in two years if you just stick to making improvements consistently over time.– Johnny Wolff
Invest wisely when it comes to hiring software professionals. Look no further than the resources of Full Scale. They can help you build a software development team quickly and affordably. Moreover, Full Scale’s perfect recruitment platform automatically matches you with fully vetted developers, testers, and leaders.
Additionally, our Startup Hustle partners have great solutions to help with your business too.
Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 00:00
And we’re back! Back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. So we’ve had so much stuff that is remote. We’ve got remote work, remote school, and remote investing, which is what we’re going to talk about today. And everything’s remote; the world got so small because the internet got so big in a GET and to that, and so many more things today. Before I introduce today’s guest, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. And Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has a platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. If you’re unaware, that’s my business. And we love talking to Startup Hustle listeners. When you get to FullScale.io, it takes like two minutes to fill out the form. And let us match you up with people that can help you build tech.
Johnny Wolff 00:54
You’ve been doing it for a while. And it’s an honor to be on your show.
Matt DeCoursey 00:57
I appreciate you coming too. You’ve done the city well with your success and your support. And for those of you that are unaware, HomeRoom is a Y Combinator-backed residential real estate marketplace that simplifies remote investing and streamlines affordable renting. And, you know, with that, Johnny, why don’t we start today’s conversation with a little bit about the backstory of what brought you to where we’re at? At that live HomeRoom.com?
Johnny Wolff 01:23
Yeah, so I started my career in Silicon Valley in 2007. And started remote real estate investing in 2008. Bought a home in Midland, Texas, home of Friday Night Lights, and worked for some startups and tech companies in finance, financial planning, and forecasting strategy. Around 2015, I realized that a lot of us realized housing was getting way more unaffordable every day, and I was getting my curves progressing. But I was like, what am I gonna do to be able to buy a house in San Francisco? And it’s like, maybe never. So I pivoted to. Yeah, and I had worked with some startups; I was excited about it. But really, I wanted to get into real estate investing because I saw that as an avenue for me to kind of jump up wealth-wise so I could eventually live with my friends, buy a house, and then close by. So I moved to Austin in 2015. And did real estate investing basically full-time. I bought a home, super, a lot of leverage, and ended up renting out each product, each room, individually. Because I could get more rent, about 50% more than I would have gotten if I rented out as a single-family home. So I ended up doing that two more times in Austin. And so I had a little portfolio. I was running my own properties. And I shared how it was going. It was a little crazy. You know, roommate housing is a little different, I guess you could say, but the returns are really good. And so my friends in the bear, like, how do we do this because it seems like it’s a great idea? And I said I had no idea, man. Good luck. Around 2018, I realized hey, I needed to move to Kansas City. I think the ecosystem there is, you know, I’d heard good things. I think it’s a good ecosystem for real estate investing. And so I came here to do more real estate investing for myself. But it kind of dawned on me, well, what if I kind of combined my sort of background, technology, product experience, and this real estate investing piece and offer it to other people so they can buy homes and rent them out remotely? So that led to me starting HomeRoom in 2018. And here we are today, we were, you know, seed funded, Y Combinator-backed. We’ve built a really good team in 11 different metros in the United States. And now, we enable real estate investors to buy these homes from anywhere in the country and in the world. We do podcasts globally now as well.
Matt DeCoursey 03:51
Interesting. So with, you know, what you guys are doing at HomeRoom now, just to clarify this, because we packed a lot of stuff there. And yeah, that frustration of living in those expensive markets is, is real, you know, having, we have clients and guests, and you know, people say, Oh, you’re in Kansas City, and they’re like, what’s that? Like? I’m like, it’s cheap.
Johnny Wolff 04:12
Matt DeCoursey 04:14
Yeah, it’s a better word. I like the word self on my own crap there because it’s not necessarily it’s not like bread all over, but compared to there are some things in San Francisco that might be Bredel and fall over that you’ll still pay millions of dollars for, and that’s, that’s a straight up my house in Kansas City for under 200,000.
Johnny Wolff 04:33
And so, like, in the bay at the time, if you’re, you’re looking at 1.5, you know, no, so you can’t find a closet for 200 grand, so you can’t tell when it comes in and when we talk about the remote investment piece of this, like so clarify this for me.
Matt DeCoursey 04:43
So we’ve got the ability to Have to lease a room, lease a house or invest in a property? What’s the convenience? Or what’s the benefit of using HomeRoom? As opposed to me just going and buying a place and renting it out?
Johnny Wolff 05:13
Yeah. You know, I, Austin, a friend of mine, who runs a similar company, or he says, you know, anyone can do this, but most people probably have better uses of their time, right? So, you know, there’s a number of things that someone in our, in a marketplace like ours that does better, right we have, we are able to attract tenants at a super high velocity, right, so your property will perform better. We have a 24/7 leasing team globally. They’re always on. We also have a proprietary technology platform that will actually allow people to self-checkout out their leasing process. So that is the demand side of the marketplace that we’re creating. And so if you come in as a supply side, being the property investor, or someone with a home, then your property is just going to perform a lot better. And generally, we’re gonna pay for ourselves, right? And so you’re gonna have way less stress and make more money, which is a pretty good deal. Yeah, I’ve had, you know, over the years, I’ve had a lot of I’ve owned rental homes. It’s been a long time since I managed it all right with them because I actually, I’m old enough at this point that I had them before what most people called the housing bubble in 2007 and 2008.
Matt DeCoursey 06:11
So you want some kind of levered and do a couple houses and manage to sell them doubled in value over like three years, I was like, wow, okay, I should sell now because I didn’t feel it was sustainable. And it wasn’t. I haven’t really gone back to that space for some of the reasons that you mentioned. Because, you know, there’s, I think that real estate investing is very accessible to a lot of people. And it’s a great way to create a lot of wealth, especially over, you know, it’s at OPM, other people’s money. Kind of a factor. But, you know, for me, when I, when I look at myself, and I’m busy, I got 10 million things going on, and then you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s not as much as like the, hey, here’s the house, you want to rent it, here’s paper, sign it, it’s the shit that goes on in the middleman, you know, like, it’s broken my back doors, you know, the sprinkler broke, or the house flooded, or something like that. And, you know, I think I have a hard time even keeping up with that stuff at the house that I live in much less Yeah, the responsibility of needing to do it for people that, you know, are renting. And so that’s pretty cool.
Johnny Wolff 07:27
Now, yeah, no one wants more chores, right? It’s right. When you get into investing, you kind of want it to be quiet, like just make. Well, yes.
Matt DeCoursey 07:35
Well, for real estate investing. Yeah, I think you talked about investing in startups and stuff like that. And myself and a lot of other people on the show, or, I mean, I’ve done more investment and stuff like that. But if it’s something I don’t understand or can’t add any value to, I pass every time because I just it’s, you know, it’s like not really my strong suit. So there are a lot of opportunities out there. Now, with that, you know, you mentioned let’s talk about YC a little bit, because, you know, what, what was that process? Like? I think a lot of people will find that to be interesting.
Johnny Wolff 08:13
Yeah, it’s, it’s a whirlwind. I think, you know, I think, you know, people will ask, like, is it a good idea to do YC? To me, you know, every once in a while on LinkedIn, the answer for me, it’s always a resounding yes. Obviously, pretty difficult to get into. But, you know, the whole, there’s a step to get in, you’ve got to fill out a form, then you have to do an interview. And it’s like an eight-minute interview. We have to pitch your startups like Mike, you know, the head of YC or one of the partners, and that process of preparation, I think, is good for any startup. Right? I think our startup got way better just prepping for YC because we didn’t get in the first time we applied; we got in the second. And so the preparation got us to think about metrics that matter. And like this is, you know, investors have metrics they like, and usually for darn good reason. And so you start to fill out those forms. TechStars is similar, you know, and you’re like, okay, maybe I should start pointing in this direction. So I’d recommend everyone try to get a new accelerator even if you’re, like, choose not to get any of the offers. It was like a Startup Summer Camp on steroids. It was so fast. You know, you’re basically it’s a three-month program. You’re putting a couple under batchmates. You gotta make cool connections. They are presenting to you constantly. And we are a bit later. In a typical startup, we had a bit more revenue. So we were going to try to raise at a pretty lofty seed round valuation. So there was fundraising prep, basic startup prep, you got to hear from, like, the Airbnb founders, all these. So there were a lot of really cool pieces. And it takes like a month or two after you’re done to process all of what you experience. But the best part is the relationships you keep, right? Yeah, we’re in a Slack group with our YC prop tech group, folks. So we like to chat all the time about The crazy real estate market, and we support each other when Silicon Valley Bank has issues. And so that’s really I think the biggest value is connecting with real folks that are kind of in the similar stages you, had you.
Matt DeCoursey 10:13
My notes show that you’ve raised a couple million dollars in capital. Did that come after YC?
Johnny Wolff 10:21
We’ve raised six, we just haven’t really announced like, we didn’t announce our seed round publicly. So some of that comes after YC, though. Yeah, during the YC. It’s pretty cool. Basically, they have Demo Day, which is pretty widely known. So they recommend you raise before demo day because it kind of creates like this urgency and a time box for investors. So yeah, we raised 4 million in about three weeks before that as well.
Matt DeCoursey 10:49
I think that kind of answered it. Because a lot of you know, one of the things that I’ve talked to a lot of early stage people, and you mentioned kind of like where’s your shard about? I think you’re spot on with the fundraising and just even the presentation process about your business. So one of the things that I do locally is I’m actually Startup Hustle and am involved with the Kansas City Economic Development Corporation. And, you know, that’s gone through some pivots and changes over the years, but they have a demo day of sorts, and they’re currently giving grant recipients you know, giving, they give out $50,000 grants, and I work with those grant recipients to help them get their one minute elevator pitch down. And bro, they show up. And hey, for any of y’all that are listening, this is love, like your pitch, when you showed up, right? So like a lot of that is, as you know, trying to correct that amongst like five to seven companies and two hours is tough. But you know, but some of that is you know, so here’s the thing. And so you mentioned like, eight minutes is a lot, a lot of time, but one minute, nothing. So people get up and they’d be like, Hi, my name is Matt DeCoursey. And I’d like to thank everybody here for blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and you just see everybody’s eyes glaze over, they go back to the slide. And by the time you’re through half of that, like you’re you’re through half of it. So you gotta really get people’s attention right away. I think that the whole fundraising process, too, is almost kind of like getting roasted a little bit, you know, because, yeah, it can be brutal in that regard, you got to have some thick skin around it. But people are going to point out the open flaws that you often have. And I think it’s good for people to hear that. And I think the thing that you really want to take out of that is you want to listen for I always say listen for the echo. And that means that like in the same thing, like your business, whether you’re giving a pitch to an investor, or it’s your clients or your users or your employees, when it starts to sound like an echo whenever that feedback. Yes, that’s probably what you should be addressing.
Johnny Wolff 13:00
And I was actually, it’s kind of funny, I was saying to my sister yesterday, she just started a business. She’s doing interior design and construction work for people in Tennessee. And she was saying, you know, I showed it to someone and they were very critical. And I was like, you know, welcomed. I was like, I’m sorry, but also like, welcome to Business because, you know, the iterative process of getting in YC starts with a two sentence description. That’s your first piece. So and that took us four freakin weeks of the partners telling us it sucked, like publicly, you have to read it every week to your group, then they’d be like that was garbage.
Matt DeCoursey 13:42
Can you say stands are sentences, two sentences, two sentences. So are your sounds as well as your two cents?
Johnny Wolff 13:50
Yeah. So it’s ours as we help investors buy remotely and rent out each room separately, and they make 50. And so like, that’s like the gist of what our two cents description became, but it took like, you know, 2000 critiques and to the point that one of the partners like you guys just need to figure this out, right? They’re very patient, they work with you, but at some point, they’re like you guys just need to get in a room and figure this out. And you know, as an English minor, right? So it’s not like words are not super amazing, but I’m super amazing are not good words. But after I said it, so. So yeah, the iteration around the clarity of what you do. And your main value prop is so important. And you could. It feels like it should be quick, but it should take you a long time and a lot of effort. Because if you can get that just right, your whole pitch, your whole seed round pitch or whole VC pitch will go 1,000x better.
Matt DeCoursey 14:54
So I look at like the five year history I’ve got with Full Scale and like I’ve spent a lot of time, effort, attention, shortening, you know, things and that’s kind of back to that advice I was saying about the people that are being given the elevator pitch. It’s like, it was just too verbose. You know, it’s like, yes. And the thing is, it’s like, you know, people, it’s amazing how many people really struggle to explain what the hell it is they did. And, you know, and that’s the thing. So like, at Full Scale, we build software teams quickly and affordably. One sentence, you know, but dude, it took a little while to get down to that, you know, and then like, some of it’s also just having that confidence. I understand that those are the words that describe what you do. And it really is like, the more straightforward and descriptive you can be, because I’ll tell you, I mean, I’ve actually sat through people pitching us for investment, and you 10 minutes, 12 minutes, and you finally you’re like, so what do you do? You know, and that’s what you’re trying to do? That’s really what you’re trying to avoid?
Johnny Wolff 15:54
Yeah, I mean, it is your two sentence description, and your first minute is your foundation for your whole pitch if people are lost? Yep, some VCs will just be like, I don’t know what you do. YC will say that to you. I don’t know what to do. Yeah, like, but polite people may not, and then they’ll just zone out. And like to start thinking about their vacation in Cabo.
Matt DeCoursey 16:16
And like three weeks, I hope you had a VC friend of mine say something to me. He was like, I’m sitting through pitches. I’m like, how’s that going? And he goes, he goes, if they get 10% of my attention right now, they’re doing pretty well. And but that’s, that’s a key point. Because like, we’re all like that as people. So lead with the need. Yes. That is the number one thing that I tell the elevator pitch people like to lead with the need, like you got to get someone’s attention right away. It’s the same thing with like, the social the hook on your social media, or the chorus of a cool song, but you got to get people’s attention and you know, like, and like and I’d take a stab at like what you do, I’d be like, if you’re Have you ever wanted to be a rental homeowner, but you’re frustrated with the process of managing the tenants or filling the units, we have a solution for that, you know, something like that as if I’m interested. Now I’m listening. But if you make someone go through a bunch of babble and dribble, on the way to the eyes, glaze 10%. It bested the attention, and it’s just really tough.
Johnny Wolff 17:21
And then yeah, we ended up distilling it down to it, we helped investors make 50% more rents. Real estate investors make 30% more rent. And so like, it kind of sets the stage like, Okay, we should pay it. Oh, wow. Right. So you kind of set the hook, you explain it with that second description I already said and, and then you’re kind of ready to go. Right? Now people want to unwrap the story of what you do. It’s so hard to let go though. You want to put more information and you feel like more information is better. Right? That’s I think that’s a classic fundraising deck pitch deck messaging concept, as you just tried to put more and maybe more will get me more impact. The truth is, do love everything away except for the five things that make the most impact. But there should be nothing else right. And so that’s the most difficult part is honing it all the way down into basically nothing but the very most important stuff.
Matt DeCoursey 18:13
So yeah, and then you know, another thing too, with, whether it’s to an investor, and especially when you’re talking to prospects, clients, or users, you have to remember that people buy the benefits of what your product or service offers, not the features. The features are secondary and features don’t mean anything. No, unless you and so I always just say FA B features, advantages, benefits; if you mention a feature you need, what’s the advantage of that? And don’t assume that people know, don’t assume that whoever you’re talking to actually just gets it. Because, you know, I just went through the same thing. Yesterday, I was talking to her head of software development, and we were talking about get hubs copilot, which is, you know, an auto complete and it’s and, and brilliantly and he mentioned something to me and like we were focused on like three key ingredients for basically like speed quality, and you know, like accuracy. And he said, Yeah, and this also would make someone that isn’t super experienced. See, I’m using super experience. Those are great words. Powerful as hell.
Johnny Wolff 19:20
But yeah, we’re talking about, we’re talking about clarity and simplicity of language. Yeah, harder and freeze freeform, right.
Matt DeCoursey 19:28
Hey, for anyone listening, if you don’t like today’s show, we’ll give you your money back then we’ll give it all back. We’ve had a money back guarantee here at startup. Anybody taken us up on it yet? But yeah. But with that, like he brought, he pointed out and he said, Well, this could also make people more versatile. And I was like, whoa. And I hadn’t even honestly, I hadn’t even considered that. So like, Yeah, you get it. You look at developers and all the myriad things that they need to do. And you know, it’s hard to find if you have five things in your tech stack. Here’s the thing it less: They are the five most common things out there. And then it’s still hard to find one person that’s good at all. So if you can fill in those little gaps like, oh, wow, that really made a lot of sense. So it was describing the benefit, even to people with subject matter expertise. So it’s important. So don’t assume that people know the benefit of what you’re doing. Now, I will tell you a benefit of going to FullScale.io Is that we make finding expert software developers not that difficult, especially when you go to FullScale.io, you just have to fill out a couple minutes worth of questions, and our platform matches you up with available testers, developers, leaders a whole lot of stuff and make it fast, simple and affordable. FullScale.io While you’re in the shownotes, clicking that, click the live HomeRoom.com link as well. Now Johnny, we’re talking about the future of remote investing, why? Why do you believe that you’re, you’re gonna lead us into that? What’s the what’s the, what’s the benefit?
Johnny Wolff 21:03
30% 50% more rent isn’t enough for you, Matt, come on.
Matt DeCoursey 21:07
That’s it. I’m paying attention to 10%. That’s all I needed. 19 and a half.
Johnny Wolff 21:16
See, I’m double what needs to happen, right. So, you know, the R two value props are really going to make more money, right, which is an investment, usually a good thing. And the other one is, is going to be stupid, simple, right? And so you’re going to be able to come in, and we’ll walk you through the full process to connect to the lender. The insurance will connect you with everything, right, as well as the real estate agent in the field. We also have a data science team, and we’ll do the underwriting on the deal, right? When you’re renting out rooms, there’s no national database of so, you know, we have, we’ve kind of built this whole thing to maximize returns and kind of shore it up and build data and tech all around it. So, but I mean, if zooming out, kind of like looking at just real estate investing generally. You know, one of the things I did when in like, 2014, before I moved to Austin in 2015. I was like saying, Okay, I’m kind of in a hole. I’m not, you know, I don’t have enough money to buy this house as there’s a wealth gap for me personally. And the question is, how do I bridge that gap? So as a finance person, I ran numbers on stocks, you know, crypto, although that might have been a good idea, so maybe I missed their real estate. And I found that the fronts are like kind of a risk adjusted basis, that real estate was the best pound for pound best performer if you’re using leverage and good interest rates, right, because it’s had a massive track record of, of increasing in value. And then you can level it up with the downpayment five to one, right. So it ends up making your returns much better in the stock market, but also much more predictable. So a lot of its finance base, we layer on a model that makes you make more money, and we make it really easy for investors. So that’s really kind of a HomeRoom kind of mission and kind of what we’re doing.
Matt DeCoursey 23:11
You didn’t use this phrase, but you’re selling my favorite intangible benefit, which is peace of mind. Like, do you know and so, I’m a couple years away from being 50 at this point, I’m not old, I’m experienced, right? But I’ve really learned as a salesperson and a builder of businesses that when you can deliver peace of mind. Like dude, it’s, it’s, it’s somewhat priceless, you know, because without peace of mind, without peace of mind, nothing else has much flavor. And, you know, that’s there’s an element to that in any product or service offering if it’s there, it makes it sticky. So it’s like sticky sticky, because you know, if you think about it, and like I think that at certain points in all of our lives, we’re like, oh, cool, you know 50% Sounds great. I love that that’s an awesome return. But realistically if I lose peace of mind to get it, I’m not buying it. Right?
Johnny Wolff 24:13
Yeah, come home early from vacation or you know, I’ve been checking my phone every day to make sure that you know, my portfolio didn’t crash you know, yeah.
Matt DeCoursey 24:22
So some of that you know, so like with that peace of mind and that’s where I think a lot of like quit like manage services type companies and and streamline stuff like like live HomeRoom and and all that is like you know, is important and you know, because I you know, I was giving an example when I said I have 300 employees in the Philippines and I went and and so I’m there like six to eight weeks a year I’m tired of staying in hotels I looked at buying a condo in the IT park where we’re at and one of the guys that I work with over there was like Well dude, you could Airbnb it when you’re not around. I was like, he’s like, why not? I was like, cuz the kids over there, they’d be like 40 bucks a day. And I’m like, it just doesn’t feel worth it, you know, that could destroy my peace of mind. Like, I need a couple more zeros to trail the trail in that transaction. And, you know, so that wasn’t really that, but if that could be out of touch out, you know, out of sight out of mind, I know some people that do that with, with different rental properties where they just had they’re just kind of hands off on it.
Johnny Wolff 25:30
Yeah, I mean, yeah, it’s really like a, you know, a psychology of investing or psychology of money, right? Like, there’s there’s the pure numbers view of how much money you put in how much money you get out. Right. But but if you don’t include the human aspect, like I think, in any sort of product or service that is offering and returns is I think you’re missing a big component, right. And we actually run into that a lot with investors, there’s a lot of people we talked to that are like the idea of buying a property, hundreds of miles away. That sounds like a terrible idea. Like, what if something goes wrong, right? Just seems intuitively complicated. Also, houses have like a lot of parts. Right? And so, but we know the numbers of real estate are really good, right? I think generally, people think if you ask someone on the street, like is real estate, a good investment, most people be like, Yeah, thanks. Like pretty much. Yeah, universally. Yeah. But like, eventually, right? Eventually, maybe not in 2007. But it’s really like, how do you maximize it? And then how do you make it easy, right, and like, so those are, that’s really like the two things that we’re trying to tackle. And we have very little peace of mind at all, because we’re in the trenches every day, we have like 1300 roommate tenants. And that’s bananas. But like, the goal is that all that noise just gets like completely qualified. And then the investor just gets like money. And then they just, like, great, and that’s it. Like they have any questions, they send it to us or nice, chippy, you know, success team helps them like answer questions, right. And so that’s, you know, that’s, that’s crucial. I think it’s really, really important, especially in real estate, which is complicated, or anything else. It’s pretty dynamic, and has a lot of pieces like that. So yeah, in your case, people are making investments in software, right? And so it’s a dynamic thing to manage an engineering team. And so in a way, you’re doing something very similar.
Matt DeCoursey 27:22
Well, the peace of mind we saw at Full Scale is you know, so like, here’s the reality is there are if you’re going to hire, so there’s a huge shortage of software developers in the United States. And as entrepreneurs, we will go find what we need, wherever it is that we need to go find it. And if that happens to be offshore, which here’s the thing, man, there are smart, talented people worldwide, you got to know how to find them. And then and then create a culture that keeps them around. And so we only hire about one in 35 applicants, so people will and we’re pretty upfront, like we’re not the cheapest solution. Because we’re not cheap. We don’t do cheap things. So we’re affordable. You know, that’s why we shouldn’t use the word cheap earlier, but like affordable. People use these words interchangeably. And they’re very, very different. So like, the peace of mind that you get when you hire Full Scale is that we got rid of the 34 candidates you didn’t want. And dude, we aren’t disciplined about that. Like, I mean, if it’s even a borderline is a no, like, there’s no like, we don’t squeeze the strike zone outward, you know, and so some of that is, so that’s a peace of mind. And then also, like you mentioned, like buying a property that’s really far away, we have management and other things that go on in the background that I don’t know, man, if your clients can’t be successful using your services, then you’re not going to be successful. So you have to focus on that. And that’s a really important thing. It’s the same thing with apps, like you talked about peace of mind, and then some people build software that’s confusing as hell to work. Like, I’m gonna say, onboarding, if that’s why you really can’t go to FullScale.io click hire developers and you can get through that in under a minute.
Johnny Wolff 29:07
I say two minutes because if you’re slow, but take you know, minute 45.
Matt DeCoursey 29:10
You will race through and you’re in there but people want things like we’re in this we’re in this like reels and stories microwave culture now and you know, like Amazon started changing that game and it’s same day deliveries. I ordered something last night at 10pm and it was on my porch this morning. I was like whoa, that’s really fast. I don’t think I yeah, I mean, it was fast. As you know, I had to order all weird shit. So I had to order three owl decoys. Like out of my dad’s house there is apparently a large bird of prey that is catching the guns and and around the pond near the golf course that he lives on and there are carcasses on his deck. Like there’s like it’s the weirdest thing, bro. There’s like a giant Gallatin I’m like, yeah, so apparently you got to put out.
Johnny Wolff 30:04
God bless God bless Amazon because like, I don’t know where you’d go to get an owl decoy if you had to otherwise.
Matt DeCoursey 30:10
Johnny Wolff 30:13
I think that no, you’re not, you’re probably right about that. Yeah. It wouldn’t. It wouldn’t be I wouldn’t be like, yeah, definitely a sporting goods store.
Matt DeCoursey 30:20
I don’t know if they have owls, they might have ducks. Everything. I found a carcass too. I’m like, this has got to stop. So yeah. Anyway, I digress. Yeah. So by the way, if you are renting out homes, or doing anything with that, make sure you don’t end up with all the things I just described on your jackets, probably not.
Johnny Wolff 30:40
Maybe just add a fake out every rental bought three.
Matt DeCoursey 30:44
That’s because that’s the way I wasn’t gonna get one. I’m gonna put all these things up and see what happens.
Johnny Wolff 30:50
I had a kind of a note about what you’re talking about, about outsourcing talent, I think. And it sort of ties into the way you talked about software engineers using HubSpot, copilot, and making them more versatile. I think we use a lot of overseas talent. We have a team in the Philippines that has been our class. We’ve been our biggest team, a fairly large team in Argentina, we have some team members from Venezuela and Mexico. So it’s a you know, pretty Oh, in Europe and Middle East. And our engineers are in Vietnam. So we’re kind of global. One thing we’re seeing that’s pretty magical is that open AI is actually making our employees who are all pretty good at English, like suddenly able to do customer facing messages. It’s making them more versatile. So you basically bridge a gap where globally we know the skills are at a super high level. But there’s like a, there’s the challenge is sort of like, you got to like process it through a management layer with, you know, native fluency to make it clean and clear sometimes, well, now that like it’s sort of changing, and so it’s making that globalization, I think it’s moving even faster. So I think it’s a very, very, very cool thing. It’s exciting to see, you know, we’re really, we’re big believers.
Matt DeCoursey 32:10
And so when we went and set up Full Scale, one of the things that was that ACO that we heard was that people were working at places where they’re doing uninspired shit, they were using terrible equipment, and they just didn’t really like you, they weren’t really treated that well. So like that. I mean, it was so obvious. So is there the opposite, you know, and like, if you are wanting anybody, whether it’s a software developer or a carpenter or a bricklayer, or anyone to build you something of quality, you need to give them the right tools. And you know, when you look at like, open AI, like, that’s why we’re sitting there, like testing co-pilot, because here’s the thing, and for those of you that might not be familiar, like I’m missing a semicolon in your code can break your shit. I mean, it can’t be that simple. Like, I’ll go back over the years, I’ve been building software and stuff for a long time. And like, what was the problem? Like, oh, there’s an error on line 6093 missing semicolon? I’m like, what? Yeah. Do you look at those tools to make people like, you know, do it faster, higher quality, and then in that subcategory that accuracy, and then there’s a level of confidence too, because, you know, like, if you’ve ever been around software developers, if they’re not confident about what they’re about to push, they’re sitting there going, should I post them? You know, because they don’t want to let things down. But there’s that. And by the way, all the things that I just mentioned, are peace of mind. They really are. So yeah, right about like the opening. I like just that, you know, so Google Translate. I’ve traveled all over the world to many of the places that you mentioned, as well. And my Google Translate. People asked me, are you going to learn to speak Filipino? First of all, Filipino isn’t a language. That’s what they call it? Probably not. Because, you know, like, I mean, there’s all these tools that make it easy like you can put the google google translate on the camera of your iPhone, I think it’s probably on the I’m assuming on Android as well, but you can hold it, hold your Hold, hold it up at a sign I was in Belarus, holding that shit up at signs. And I was like, well, it was like, you know, shut telling me what it said in English and, and that, you know, that’s important. And if you can’t communicate if you want to, you talk about anything, if the lines of communication are crap, then the output is probably going to be crap.
Johnny Wolff 34:41
Yeah. Because, you know, I was writing a note back to one of our lead engineers in Vietnam, and I just threw it in chat GBT and also told him and the team in Vietnamese because he can speak English very well. Yeah, the team can’t and our CTO speaks both And so he was like, that was pretty. That was pretty funny. I was like, yes. So and so it’s also helping me to kind of communicate better. So in both directions, like language barriers are falling, coding language barriers are falling. So it’s pretty exciting stuff.
Matt DeCoursey 35:15
Yeah, it’s funny, because people keep saying I was just going to replace software engineers. I mean, that was a long way away, if that ever happens, because it’s not like that. I love the idea of the speed and accuracy of the code coming out. Because like, you know, being able to produce models, find libraries, answer questions, debug things. Yeah, the big thing is like, is unit testing? You know, and things like that. Like, why don’t software developers, like writing unit tests, just more code, right, and you got to maintain it. And it’s sort of like, AI does a lot of the things that, you know, it says, machine learning all this, that most people just don’t want to do themselves. And we should thank it for that. Because it’s usually a lot of thankless crap.
Johnny Wolff 35:58
And yeah, it basically is able to, you know, in kind of like, the way that our CTO talks about as like, if you’re not a great writer, it’s hard for you to generate code, using co pilot and knowing if it’s the code the exact right code you need, right. So it can make someone that’s good, way more prolific and productive. But I think it can be, it can help someone that’s new, but it can’t make someone that’s new, good and prolific. Right? So there’s still that skills gap, we have to understand what’s happening underneath the surface. But I mean, man, we’re using co-pilot with all of our engineers, and the production is moving up, which is super awesome.
Matt DeCoursey 36:43
Peace of mind, too. It’s like no one wants to push things live. And then you find that we’ve had this rule. And because we provide services, so many companies, I can’t make rules for them. But you don’t you don’t push an update on a Friday. You know, just like if your lesson stopped doing that, because it’s great. It’s a great way to ruin your weekend. Tuesdays are good. Yeah. Yeah. Tuesday, Tuesday, Wednesdays, like those are, yeah, so give yourself some time in there. But back to that peace of mind, you know, having things that debug and do a lot of different stuff. And there are, I liked that versatility piece. You know, like I said, there’s someone having a little more confidence in it. So, alright, so here we are with another episode of Startup Hustle that breezed right on by today’s show is brought to you by FullScale.io helping you build a software team quickly and affordably go to FullScale.io. Once again, it only takes Johnny one minute and 45 seconds or less to fill out the form certified verified. Kind of maybe not. We’ll see.
Johnny Wolff 37:51
Have you, I’m gonna break. I’m gonna break records, man.
Matt DeCoursey 37:54
Hey, Jerry, go, dude. I’ve had so many people doing like moments, because it’s all about quick, easy, but I like to end my episodes of Startup Hustle with founders at the founder freestyle, and give everybody a chance to say their closing remarks or statements. And Johnny, I guess it’s time for that now. And I will follow you up, sir.
Johnny Wolff 38:17
Awesome, man. Yeah, I think you know, one thing that I kind of want to touch on real quick is just, you know, we talked about HomeRoom. It’s like we’re in all these places. And like, the one part of the journey I kind of breezed right through was like 2018 to like, 2021, right? Because it’s like, we got into Y Combinator in 2021. We got we raised money, all this, all these things happen. But from 2018 and 20, to 2020, when you know, it was an absolutely brutal grind, we basically had $120,000 that I took out of my personal retirement account, we burned through it in like, three months. And then we just did it in my basement for a year and a half, right? With one other guy. So I think like, if you’re going to start something, there’s the the number of Instagram stories that are out there, where it’s like 12 months later to exit is just so few and the number of times where it’s you’re gonna go, you’re gonna be like at about 20 times where you probably should shut the business down. The area is very high. And so I think it’s really about understanding that on the other side of life, being very close to failure can be like a much better time. And then we’re having we’re having you then you have more tough times, even after successes. So I think that’s really a crucial thing that I want to make sure of when I talk about all the good stuff and how great it is and whatever. Like it wasn’t great most of the time, right? So if you’re starting if you have a company now and you’re feeling like Gosh, I don’t want to keep doing this. You can make improvements every day and stack them up and you can be in a much better place in two years if you just stick to making improvements consistently over time.
Matt DeCoursey 39:55
Podcast as well.
Johnny Wolff 39:57
Yeah, we have a yes we do. What’s it called? On HomeRoom investing, there you go.
Matt DeCoursey 40:02
I’m assuming you can find out all the places where podcasts are found. Correct, which are many, many, many.
Johnny Wolff 40:10
There are a few. There’s a few, there’s, yeah, I think there’s a few, a few things to unpack here. They went over some important things when it comes to just the reality of fundraising.
Matt DeCoursey 40:13
And, you know, I’m gonna go back, I don’t want to just highlight my own shit. But I’m gonna say that, like, the peace of mind thing is real. Like, if you can figure out what part of your service or product, like whatever it does, whatever it is that you do that generates peace of mind, like, find a way to focus on that because that really will kind of melt the price. The price objections are away. I think you’re 100% accurate with what you mentioned. Like the story of this dude, I don’t know anybody that exists after 12 months. Small when they do, they’re pretty, they’re pretty dinky exits, like as far as things go. But, you know, when it comes to building the company, it’s just like, it’s, you’re eating an elephant, you got to go after that thing, one bite at a time. And maybe start with the tail. You know, like just in any. I think that we portray this in Hollywood and social media a lot of times, like World of HomeRoom hitters that just get up and hit grand slams every time. There’s a thing for someone to hit a grand slam: a couple other people had to have had to get a base hit, maybe how to get hit by a pitch, how to get walked, and then you know, then you get a chance to hit it out. But you got to get runners on base before you even hit a grand slam. And yeah, so much about entrepreneurship isn’t home runs. It is sacrifice bunts, and taking pitches and being patient on Sundays and patients isn’t exactly my strong suit. This can also be a benefit, though, it can also be a benefit, because as far as selling goes as I asked for the sale. You know, I don’t, I don’t, I’m not sitting around and waiting three weeks for you to maybe get back to me when you forgot about me, you know, 20 days ago, because I didn’t follow up quickly. So you know, there’s, I think, I think the main thing just continues to work on getting the people involved with your organization, whether it’s co-founders or employees or partners or anything that you have in mind and want to move things for like passion and passion will wash away. So many dreary feelings on many days. It’s like an antidote for the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. And I think the last thing I’ll put in there is if you’re thinking about starting a business, or doing or getting involved with one, if you’re not passionate about it, I want to really, really encourage you to sit back and think about it for a while, because you’ll probably quit. I mean, it’s, it’s, you know, yeah. It’s because they’re like, as you mentioned, there’s I talked about that in my book, Million Dollar Bedroom, that I call the coin toss moment. Hey, let’s just flip a coin and see if we’re gonna do this anymore. You run into that with every business, like there’s a moment where you kind of mentioned a ton of moments. Yeah, well, I have a two-headed quarter for some of those. But you know, it’s like, at the same time, it’s like there is that that’s a reality, and entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. It’s, it’s, it’s brutal, dude, it’s, it has. It has a lot, but it has a lot of ups to like, you know, like when you get it right, and you’re making a difference in your life, your employees’ lives, your clients, users, whatever. And, you know, that’s, that’s a really good feeling.
Johnny Wolff 43:44
Yes, it’s definitely orders of magnitude more fulfilling than working at a bank. Like, that’s my least favorite job ever. The money, the money, I, the money I made, was the most ever made. And benefit. Everything was great. But like it was, the currency of fulfillment was super low. Because it was just like, but in sorrow bland, the currencies are usually low but eventually can get better. But the fulfillment, I think, can be really awesome, especially if it’s something that you believe in, like our secret formula to what we’re doing is to provide affordable housing on the demand side, right. And so we’re the team that is really passionate about that. And so it’s fulfilling to feel like we’re doing that. So I think that that’s pretty special. But, you know, it doesn’t always pay the bills. And it definitely doesn’t mean you don’t go through moments where, like, this was a huge mistake, and I wish I could go back in time and just stay working at the bank sometimes.
Matt DeCoursey 44:46
So, but that’s where we’re going to end the show, man. I’ll catch you on the road for an update. All right.
Johnny Wolff 44:50
Sounds good. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.