Ep. #1238 - Software QA Solutions
In today’s Startup Hustle episode, Matt Watson and Jay Aigner, CEO and Founder of JDAQA, talk about software QA solutions. Listen as they discuss the importance of QA testing and the right time to perform QA. Also, they try to answer the infamous QA question: Manual QA vs Automated QA.
Covered In This Episode
Quality assurance (QA) is not sexy and often an afterthought for many companies. However, it is critical for the success of any software. JDAQA partners with startups by providing scalable teams of QA professionals to keep them lean yet effective.
Listen to Jay recount how JDAQA came to be after being rejected by Uber. Matt and Jay then discuss the pros and cons of service-based vs. SaaS companies and red-flag clients.
The conversation turns to QA as the last line of defense and the best time to start a QA. Matt and Jay discuss using Upwork for QA, the QA business climate, and more. Matt provides insights on the technical talent in the Philippines.
Do you want to do right by people who use your software? Join the conversation in this Startup Hustle episode now!
- From getting rejected by Uber to starting a business (1:01)
- Establishing JDAQA (3:38)
- Service-based vs. SaaS company (8:57)
- QA is an afterthought for most companies (11:38)
- Red flag clients (15:32)
- QA is the last line of defense (17:42)
- When should you start a QA? (18:56)
- The technical talent in the Philippines (21:48)
- Using Upwork for QA services (25:12)
- Standing out from the crowd (28:06)
- Manual QA vs. Automated QA testing (30:17)
- Software testing approaches and priorities (35:13)
- The QA business climate (39:59)
- From being a QA to being the salesperson of your company (41:58)
- Sales strategies for QA and software development agencies (44:05)
- Jay’s advice for entrepreneurs (46:39)
Companies whose leadership doesn’t appreciate the team that they have, right? If people are talking down to their people on calls or they’re not being good leaders, I think that translates to not good partnerships. If they’re not good bosses, if they’re not a good representation of what they want as quality of a culture in their company, those have always been the ones that don’t work out.– Jay Aigner
I think creating a professional service company like tours and Full Scale is a great option for people that nobody thinks of. Like, if you’re an expert at whatever you do, you can do that for other people. But if you want to scale it, you’ve got to learn the skill set to hire other people and delegate to them. And it’s a great idea for people wanting to start their own company.– Matt Watson
There are people out there that are interested in your data, and they can use it for some very good things. So let’s not hold The role of QA, in general, is the last line of defense.– Jay Aigner
You’re always gonna need people, man. Like machines don’t have context. You see it with ChatGPT and everything now, like, it’s a great tool. There are lots of great AI ML tools, but they lack context. And people have that context.– Jay Aigner
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt Watson 0:01
And we’re back for another episode of the Startup Hustle. Today we’re going to talk about something really exciting and really exciting about excited about software testing. We’re gonna talk about QA. Our guest today is Jay Aigner. He owns a company that does QA. He’s we’re gonna learn all about different types of QA and testing. And, you know, even for startups like, when should you do QA? We’re going to talk about all of it today. Before we get started, I do want to remind everybody that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by Full Scale. Hiring software developers is difficult, Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably that works directly for you. Please visit FullScale.io to learn more. Jay, welcome to the show, man.
Jay Aigner 0:42
Matt. Thanks for having me, buddy. And thank you for making testing sound exciting because we all know.
Matt Watson 0:50
Well, we’re, we’re gonna have to try today. We’re gonna have to try really hard for this to sound exciting.
Jay Aigner 0:55
It’s okay. I mean, the business of it I love, and the process is fun, too. You just gotta gotta get into it. So
Matt Watson 1:02
Well, I’m, you know, I think I’m more excited to talk about the business of it. And I’ve seen my notes here, I saw this little story about how you got rejected by Uber, like, you tried to work at Uber, and you got rejected, and you said, screw it, and you started your own company. Is that was that the genesis of this?
Jay Aigner 1:20
I mean, if it sounds great, sounds exciting. It sounds like a great story. But I mean, yeah, I mean, my wife’s an overnight nurse, she wasn’t overnight nurse, and I was just trying to do anything I do to get her out of there. Got my license from Virginia, and I live in Pennsylvania. Apparently, that’s not okay for Uber. And they said I couldn’t drive for them. I was trying to do anything I could. And then I found Upwork, which started a freelance journey that turned into a, you know, a pretty successful business. So I would love to say that, like, I jumped right into starting a business. But it was more picking up jobs, doing stuff online, you know, QA testing on the side, and then eventually doing going into business.
Matt Watson 2:01
So, we talked about QA testing. For those who aren’t familiar, we’re talking about all forms of software testing, via manual and automated and I’m sure we’ll talk a lot more about that today. But to back to your story, though. So you were driving for Uber, you weren’t doing QA like Uber was your full-time job?
Jay Aigner 2:17
Oh, no, no, no nine gigs. Neither. It was neither. I was doing it full-time. And I was just getting, yeah, I was looking for anything extra to try to make some more money because I wanted to get my wife out of being a nurse. So I applied to Uber and Lyft. And they both said no.
Matt Watson 2:34
And so you were doing so you had a full-time job doing QA, and you decided to offer some QA services as well on Upwork. And next thing, you know, you had some clients beating down your door to do QA for them.
Jay Aigner 2:48
Yep, yep. And I had no problem saying no to money and had to figure out how to get those contracts done. And brought in some people that I used to work with. With my old boss and started my company. So
Matt Watson 3:01
It all sounds really easy. You just
Jay Aigner 3:04
Check the box, and you’re a good cigar to business. That’s it. Not anymore, man. UpWork has changed quite a bit over the years. But yeah, it’s it does sound easy.
Matt Watson 3:14
Well, so how did you balance that at first? Like, were you you’re working 40 hours a week or whatever? And then working another 40 hours a week doing this? Or how did how did you? How did you man? How did you start the business? And then like start to scale it like how did? How did you work through that? Tell tell us a story about like the tipping point of how you go from doing this as a side hustle to making it a full time business?
Jay Aigner 3:38
Yeah, I mean, I always tried to do it in a very risk averse way. Right, which was like, when, when it was just me, it was easy, it was fun. I would go to my job, come home, I’d work on stuff and just rinse and repeat, right, and then you get an extra 20, 30, 40 hours a week. And then I started bringing in other people. And that’s where it became a little more interesting. I had to kind of bounce on this stuff during the day, you know, in between lunch breaks and stepping in the stairwell for a few minutes to take phone call. Just kind of start to build the business up that way. And I have always worked remotely. I guess not always but I mean, I’ve worked remotely for the past seven or eight years, which makes it kind of easy to hop in and out of client calls and do whatever you have to do. So, I feel like I’ve always given 100% to the companies that are working nine to five for so I don’t think I was shortchanging anybody, but definitely in that free time slash downtime. You know, get in and grow the business by bringing new contracts, assigning off, you know, resources and kind of just growing the business that way.
Matt Watson 4:46
Well, when people think of starting a business and they think of tech, they usually think of creating a software company and not a professional services company, like you have which is called JDAQA by the way I should have mentioned that earlier. which is JDAQA.com. But so they think of creating a SaaS company and a product company, which, you know, you can spend like a year or two, building some kind of software product and getting it to market and figuring out how to sell it. And, and you spend a lot of money and time and maybe never make any money, right? Like getting the breakeven and all that, especially if you’re selling some product for 100 bucks a month, or whatever it takes forever. It’s a long journey, where a professional services business like like yours, and like Full Scale, you know, we do software development for other people too. These kinds of professional services, businesses are way easier to start from the very beginning, right, you’re like, I got people that want to pay me a lot of money to do this. And I can go hire somebody to do the work and I make my margin I make, you know, 10%, 20%, 30%, whatever the margin is, right? And you can almost make money from day one. Right? I would guess for you, it’s pretty easy to make, you know, some sort of margin on it almost immediately.
Jay Aigner 5:57
Yeah. I think the key there, and I’m sure you had this experience as well is like, you have to have expertise in something. Right, mine was in QA. So that was easy for me to consult. I kind of consider it like a very natural evolution from freelance slash consulting, to bringing in somebody else to do the work to then kind of switch it over just fully being a project-based or, you know, service based business that all you do is provide services to other people. I’d love to build a product, but like you don’t think you pointed out? It’s hard. It’s hard. And it’s, you know, I think there’s a reason why there’s lots and lots and lots of startup failures in the SaaS space. And, you know, there’s lots of failed IT services businesses as well. But I think those are for different reasons. Yeah. And the SaaS company.
Matt Watson 6:48
So how long did you continue to work your full time business before you were able to go work on JDAQA your business full time.
Jay Aigner 6:55
I mean, I got away with it for a long time, man, I got I was, you know, we had probably 15 to 20 people. While I still had a nine to five job. I left my job for about a few months. And then we actually got hired by one of our clients to do Chief Product Development Officer, a FinTech company. And then I worked there for about a year or two. So it’s back in like 2019. And then eventually, that kind of just didn’t fit anymore. And I went out to do this full-time. So I did it for a long time. I was very, you know, I kinda was double dipping for the most part, right? I mean, but doing it in a way that was fair to everybody. Like, I was not, you know, working during work hours for two companies. I was splitting it up pretty well. But But yeah, I again, very derisk way where like, you know, keep in my nine to five job. But if I look back, I probably would have left sooner, you know, I would have just done the full time years ago.
Matt Watson 7:56
So when you were doing QA before, for these companies, were you used to managing other people and doing all that sort of stuff, or was owning your own business kind of your first, you know, experience having to manage a bunch of a bunch of people on a team.
Jay Aigner 8:11
I think it was my first real experience. I was not a I was not I mean, I was a lead, but not in a more of an a group capacity than any sort of like, you know, being responsible for a bunch of different people. So it was new. But it’s somewhat came naturally to me, I think.
Matt Watson 8:30
And where’s this first time entrepreneur, as well?
Jay Aigner 8:35
Yeah, I mean, I think everybody who runs a business has some story of like, when they were a teenager, they did some, like I made websites for my mom’s business. She had an advertising agency. And like, back when the web was a new exciting thing in the 90s, I was making websites for them for $1,200 a pop as you know, the 12 year old that’s a 13 year olds a big deal. Yeah, first official, real entrepreneurship, I think, was this company.
Matt Watson 8:59
Well, I love highlighting the story. Because again, I think creating a professional service company, like yours, like Full Scale, these kinds of businesses are a great option for people that nobody thinks of right? Like, if you’re an expert at whatever you do, you know, you can do that for other people. But if you want to scale it, you’ve got to learn the skill set to hire other people and delegate to them, which sounds like you, you know, you went through that over a two or three year period while still working your other job and, and hiring people and delegating and all that. And it’s a super great idea for people that want to start their own company. Starting a SaaS company and a product company is also fun, but it’s also a nightmare.
Jay Aigner 9:42
It’s gonna be fun, but terrifying. You know? Yeah. It’s your money. Like as your money you’re putting out for that. For a services based business. You’re just getting money. You’re not You’re not like putting it out, hoping to get it back. It’s very much like you said the margin is there, and you have to well Oh, do work.
Matt Watson 10:01
I mean, professional services companies still take money, the, you know, you have a lot of employees. And you know, if we go back to the early story of Full Scale, when we started, we hired like 100 employees over the first like, year of the business. That means I had to get by 100 laptops. I had to buy 100 desks, 100 chairs, I had to go rent a floor of a building 8,000 miles away in the Philippines to do this, right, I had to pay three months security deposit and three months rent deposit, right? Like, that takes capital to like these. These kinds of businesses can take capital, right? Now, not as crazy, as you know, starting a software company, but even a professional services company can take capital.
Jay Aigner 10:49
Yeah, I would say it takes capital. I would just say you can do I mean, I think your example is a I would say on the other side of the spectrum, mine was was everybody was remote. I’m do I have to buy devices and desks? Sure, absolutely. I have to do some of that stuff. But I would say it’s still within the, you know, operating expense margin kind of area of the business. And it’s not like, I’m just gonna, I’m not writing a check for $50,000 for a bunch of developers to go build a product, you know, maybe it’s been $50,000. But that’s after I’ve kind of made sure that I’m gonna get 150 from some somewhere. Right. So it’s kind of bounced, it’s a little de risked, I think compared to yeah, that’s all. Well, you’ve
Matt Watson 11:30
got some assets to back at usually, you know, at least some old laptops now.
Jay Aigner 11:34
Right. Yes. Some some ancient technology. Yes. Yeah.
Matt Watson 11:38
So, let’s talk more about QA and testing. And I, I guess my first question for you as for a lot of the clients that you’re working with, would it be surprising how many of them don’t really do QA before they bring you in?
Jay Aigner 11:57
It would be shocking to know the number. You know, I don’t know what the number is. You would think that my job was just to sell our services. But there’s a surprising amount of education sales that go along with what I do, too, right? It’s it’s not just for their clients to have the product QA, but also for the companies that we’re working with, like, why are you having a developer who’s you’re paying $100 an hour or project manager, you’re paying $75 an hour, or whatever it is, to do the QA? Like, why would you do that? Like, why wouldn’t you have them doing more projects and more development for that same amount of money. As opposed to something that’s lower costs, like QA have some other costs to it? So yeah, it’s very surprising how many companies kind of wait as long as possible to hand that off? And have somebody actually do QA? Or that they just, you know, it’s an afterthought. And they have a small, you know, team that kind of does QA. But yeah, it’s, you’d be surprised.
Matt Watson 12:59
Well, so my, my first company, was a SaaS company was a product company, right? And we grew that to doing 30 million a year in revenue, and sold it. And when we sold it, I had about 40 people working in software development. I don’t think there was anybody that did QA. And so I was that guy, like, I was not a QA person. I was like, look, the developers should do a really good job of of creating quality code and testing their own code. If we have to hire a QA, does that mean I don’t believe that my developers can produce good quality code, right. But I also understand that developers are really terrible at testing things. Let’s be honest, they’re terrible at it. They they follow the directions, they get something that sort of works. They think it sort of works, they test the happy path. And they’re like, Okay, I’m done. Check it in, deploy it to production, and then all hell breaks loose, right? So yeah, I think my mindset has shifted over time. And it all it really depends on the quality of developers you have too. Depends a lot on the quality of the developers you have the type of work that you’re doing. The type of product it is all of those things. Right. So I’ve, I’m sure you’ve probably seen some, some big messes along the way that you’ve had to come in and and you’re QAing software. That was just an absolute disaster. I would Yes.
Jay Aigner 13:00
Yeah. I mean, to your point, I think the complexity of software has just exponentially gotten higher, right, like back in the day, right? Like when I start doing QA or just in general, things are much simpler, right? I mean, it was very, like, do the things do what they’re supposed to do. Now, you’ve got all sorts of integrations and back end pieces and API’s and all these different things that just didn’t exist years ago. So, um, yeah, we’ve seen some messes. And we’ve, you know, had to sometimes bow out and just say this environment is not conducive to doing QA or getting these things fixed, right? It’s just not a great fit for either side. So we’re very realistic, we know what we can do and which clients we work well with. And I think as your business evolves, you can kind of learn to say no to some things and not take on jobs that you know, are not going to be good if they’re too much of a mess from the jump. Right?
Matt Watson 15:22
Well, so I want to hear more about that. What, what type of clients do you run into that you’re like, you know, what, we don’t want to do business with these people. Like, I’m curious.
Jay Aigner 15:32
I would say, the biggest red flag for us is, companies whose leadership don’t appreciate the team that they have, right? If people are talking down to their people on calls, or they’re, they’re, you know, not being good leaders, I think that translates to not good partnerships. If they’re not being good bosses, if they’re not being good, you know, representation of what they want as quality of a culture in their, their company, those have always been the ones that don’t work out. So once you get on discovery call, they’re talking shit about their developers and their designers, and whatever you’re like, this isn’t going to be a great fit. Um, other than that, I mean, you know, I would say infrastructure and product wise, there’s not many we don’t take on, you know, because our job is to come in and say, this is a mess, we’re gonna help clean it up, we’re gonna help consult with you and kind of give you a high level strategy first and foremost of, like, what are you supposed to do to get this thing back on track, and then we implement the people in the process to do it. So it’s more of a personality slash leadership problem I see when we bow out.
Matt Watson 16:45
So what I, what I find interesting about that is it makes total sense. If you’re meeting with a client, and they’re complaining about their team, they complain about everything in the world. And you know, in the back of your head that, you know what, they’re just going to complain about QA, like QA will be the new scapegoat. And so my team is going to take a beating from this, these people that, you know, they wake up every day and hate themselves and hate everyone they work with and blame everybody for everything. And we’re just going to be the new scapegoat. Right, like, because because that’s the problem of being QA, right? Like, if you’re doing if you’re doing software testing, all of a sudden, your neck sort of becomes on the line of like saying that this is good. Like, it’s your job now to test things and say, You know what, this is going to work. And we’ve tested it, and we’re ready. So now you become the scapegoat, right? Like you become the person who takes all the blame. And the last thing you want to do is partner with somebody who loves to blame somebody for everything.
Jay Aigner 17:42
Yeah, we’d like to partner with people who know they need QA, right? They just and maybe they don’t know they need QA. They just know they need a better quality product. Yeah, better communication, etc. And like work. Okay, we’re gonna be a good fit. But yeah, you’re dead on man. We’re already the last line of defense. We’re already you want to ask once. You
Matt Watson 18:01
want to be seen as the please God, come help me be our savior. Not that. Hey, we need a scapegoat. Come on, in.
Jay Aigner 18:08
Yeah, who else can we blame? Let’s bring in JDAQA. Now, we will be to your point that like we are kind of, that’s the role of QA in general is the last line of defense. Yeah, you could test 99.999% of things. And that .0001 is the thing that their biggest client is going to open up and explode first, and then you’re gonna be it’s gonna be the end of your relationship. Right? So you really got to be buttoned up when you’re doing the stuff that we do.
Matt Watson 18:35
Yep. So let me ask you this. If if somebody is listening, and they’re an early-stage startup, they’re building one of these product companies that you and I have agreed are very difficult to do. How soon do you think they should be doing QA? Like, if you’re super early-stage? When do you think QA is is important? When should they start doing QA?
Jay Aigner 18:55
I think when you start to scale up, right, when you start to get past the MVP phase, and you’ve got a couple developers you’re doing I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s important to get in at any point. But you know, really, when you start to go from two to three to four to five developers, when you start introducing multiple sources of code commits, and when you get multiple sources of product managers and project managers, and there’s there’s there’s opportunity for gaps to kind of form. Everyone is early and there’s like a there’s a founder, and maybe a developer too. And you’re just banging stuff out and trying to get out like that’s maybe not the time to be a perfectionist, right we’re trying to get but you know, it depends on the product side too, right? If you don’t FinTech for example, like you don’t want to put a half big thing out there, right? If you’re doing social media application, then maybe some, you know, some things here and there are not as big of a deal. You’re doing healthcare, like you don’t want to screw that up. Right. So it’s industry based. But also it’s I think it’s when you start to realize that number one, you as a developer, a founder shouldn’t be doing QA right because when You’re early on testing stuff, and making sure it works is just kind of like the natural part of a founders journey in that SaaS model. Then you start handing off that off to project managers. And these are handing that off to other people. Eventually, everybody needs to be doing their own job, right? I think there’s kind of a core part, maybe five to 10 people when it really starts to make sense. Okay, let’s get somebody else to be doing the QA that’s not biased. And you know, that’s their only job.
Matt Watson 20:24
I had the same conversation last week with one of our teams, that development team of three people, they’re starting a brand new project is a brand new company, total greenfield thing and are one of our project managers. So we need to add QA to the team. And my response to him was, there’s nothing to QA. Like, there’s literally nothing what are we going to test? Like, we haven’t wrote one line of code yet? So it’s like, I’m, I don’t believe you need QA, like on day one. You definitely needed at some point in time. And I think you you spoke really well to it, it really depends on the type of industry and the type of product and all those kinds of stuff that as well. But yeah, I don’t know that it makes sense to have it on the first day, is it? You gotta have something built and ready to get the market to test first? So
Jay Aigner 21:12
Yeah, I mean, yeah. And to your to that point, we do. After you’ve gotten to a certain point, you should move QA further and further up the pipe. Like, if you have a product, having people who have QA and stuff, have the QA that product. If you bring them in to design discussions or product discussions, they can help you say, hey, remember that thing you guys made last time it broke all these other 40 things? And like, that’s when the value of QA being early helps, but I agree. Getting them in before there’s anything built? doesn’t typically make sense. But you know, sometimes it can make sense.
Matt Watson 21:48
Well, I want to remind everybody that finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io, where you can build a software team quickly and affordably use our platform to define what kind of developers you’re looking for and see who’s available to join your team today. So, Jay, something else? It’s interesting. Just like our company Full Scale, you have a bunch of employees in the Philippines. Yes. Right. And tell us a little bit about, I’d love to hear from you about the talent that you found there, the employees that you have there, I’m sure similar experiences that I have. But I would love to hear your take on what it’s what it’s like to have a bunch of employees and technical people working for you in the Philippines.
Jay Aigner 22:32
It’s an incredible experience. They’re just culturally, and technically, they’re phenomenal. didn’t know this until I started working the bunch of in the Philippines. But you know, maybe you do know this, that like Accenture and all these other these corporations that are over there. They have colleges in the Philippines. So when you want to be a QA person or a software engineer, you can go to Accenture college. And you can be taught, you know, all the normal stuff you would be but then you go right into working for Accenture making $4 an hour or whatever it is that they pay the you know the people over there. And so then we take the people who have been trained by these really great big organizations. We treat them like human beings, we bring them into our organ organization. We pay them well. We treat them as family. And I’ve got, you know, all our executive assistants, all our virtual assistants, a bunch of our QA folks. But our QA leads on to a bunch of different functions in the organization. Just I love them, and I’m jealous of your 13 trips to the Philippines. I need to get over there because I’m dying to meet some of these people in person. But yes, we absolutely love it. They’re fantastic.
Matt Watson 23:51
I didn’t realize that a center had their own college.
Jay Aigner 23:54
Yes, I didn’t either. It was a couple of my folks were like, yeah, we went to you went to Accenture college is crazy. I didn’t. Yeah, they send you to college or the pay for it. But it’s in, you have to work for them. It’s kind of the military in that sense, where like, they’ll pay for it. But you got to put your time in at their company.
Matt Watson 24:12
Well, unlike you, we’ve hired a lot of people that worked for a center or several other big firms, right? It’s like they work at those companies for 2, 3, 4 or five years and ready to do something new. And they’ve got a lot of a lot of experience. And we’re able to hire them and usually pay them a lot more as well and give them some, you know, better opportunities and fun things to work on. So well. It’s good. Good to hear your take on that. I you know, we have 300 employees in the Philippines, mostly software development and absolutely amazing people and I will actually be over there in a few weeks. So, I’m excited to be back over there. So I would love to hear from you more about your experience with Upwork. You mentioned earlier about Upwork and so for those that are listening that have found people on Upwork. Before, it can be very useful. But I’m curious about your experience of like selling your services through Upwork. Like, well, what is that like?
Jay Aigner 25:12
I have a love-hate relationship with Upwork. I love the business that they give me. I don’t love the fees, but and I don’t like some of the changes they’ve made over the years. But after they went public, typically a pretty big tipping point for a lot of these companies when they go public because they start having to serve shareholders. But yeah, I mean, I got in when the game was good, man. I got in 10 years ago, right? I actually was on Elance, I think at first and they got bought or merged or whatever with with Upwork. And for those who don’t know, you know, it’s busy to an online marketplace for for IT services. So I started building my profile. And I have, you know, the top 1% earner profile over the last few years. And when people were searching for QA that my face would show up and the real, the real interesting part of my journey, I think, for me, personally, it was like, making that change from Yes, I’ll be the one doing the work to, you know, I won’t be the one doing the work. But I have a great team that will, right, like that’s a big change, especially when your face is the one on the profile, they’re coming to you thinking you’re going to be the guy. And you have to kind of figure out how to make this pivot. And because the the agency model thing on Upwork is kind of bolted on it was kind of an afterthought. And it’s not a great. It’s not a great place for agencies, in my opinion, just because the functionality isn’t great. But yeah, I built up the profile, but just doing jobs over the years getting a great reviews and a bunch of five-star reviews from everybody. And then eventually kind of made the switch from when people would message me, I would reply back and say, We have a great team that can get this done for you. And so it’s been a great, it’s been a great place for us, maybe we still get a ton of leads from there. They switch their fees model around used to be, you know, 5%. And now it’s 10%, which isn’t fun. You have to bid for contracts and stuff now, which is a little annoying, but I still tell people all the time, they should check it out if they haven’t been on there. So do you.
Matt Watson 27:12
So I did a quick Google search. I found your company on there. But so do you also have like a Jay Aignor profile, like, separately?
Jay Aigner 27:19
That’s the main one. That’s the main one. Yeah, that was the one that we started with. So yeah, absolutely.
Matt Watson 27:25
So you still have your own separate personal profile.
Jay Aigner 27:28
That. I mean, that gets more business interaction, because that’s when I built up over the last 10 years. And I’ll reply back and say, Hey, we have a team that will get this done for you. So I show up when people look for QA. And at one point, you know, we were top five, top three, if you searched for QA on Upwork at all, you know, my big dumb face would show up as, you know, somebody to do for you.
Matt Watson 27:50
Now, how do you how do you? How do you stand out from the crowd though? Isn’t there like hundreds or 1000s? Or 1000s of people on there that offer QA? I’m sure. So how do you how do you get to be the one that shows up? Did you is that because you pay? Like you advertise? Or like how does that work?
Jay Aigner 28:07
It definitely came from getting in early, right, before the rush came. I also made a decision early on not to race towards the bottom, which is very easy to do on Upwork. And people get very discouraged every time I talk to people who tried it and they didn’t like it. They go well, you know, there’s a bunch of people and they’re bidding for $10 an hour, well, you don’t want to work with the companies that are looking to pay, you know, $5 an hour for somebody to do QA, you don’t. You want to be the guy just like I mean, just like any other product or service, right? Like you got to offer enough value to charge more money. So you know, we’ll people were charging 15 I was charging 45 and it was because I’m a US based senior QA engineer with blah, blah, blah experience and like I was able to charge more money. And, you know, we got some big deals and big contracts that we ran through UpWork. And I don’t talk about it. But there’s 100% a feeding the machine P stop work where like if you if you run more contracts through it, you get more business. And I don’t know what the algorithm is. But there are certainly times that we run a lot of contracts to UpWork. It feeds right back and we get a lot more invitations and proposals and a bunch of other stuff. There’s definitely some part of the system that knows that you’re using it.
Matt Watson 29:28
So does that mean you’re running contracts through it that came from leads that didn’t come through Upwork so they’re just swirls.
Jay Aigner 29:35
Now just in general, like if we if we have a phase where we’re getting a bunch of referrals from outside of Upwork from existing clients, and we’re not using Upwork as much we’ll definitely notice a slowdown in the in the okay, but if we’re in there and we’re actively, you know, really pushing it and we certainly see a lot more, you know, contracts and stuff coming back to us.
Matt Watson 29:54
Just like the more business you do through up work, the more business you get from up work because they know either 10 or 10%, or whatever. So yeah, they keep they keep spinning that flywheel for you to to get more and more and more.
Jay Aigner 30:07
And I can’t, you know, prove it. But I can prove it. I can prove it internally, but not maybe not. Maybe not on a report anywhere.
Matt Watson 30:17
So one thing I want to ask you about is manual QA versus automated QA. So there’s a lot different types of QA and I’m gonna talk about that too. But the first I want to ask you about is, you know, there’s definitely always work to do to manually testings and QA things. There’s also a lot of work to automate things, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense to automate everything. So I’d love to get your feedback on on that part of it. What, what should you manually test? And then what should you automate testing for what what is your opinion there?
Jay Aigner 30:48
Yeah, I’m actually doing a talk in a couple of weeks at online test conference about this specific thing. I basically, there’s no fully-automated test setup, right? Like ever, the goal that a lot of people have, I think, is to just like, fully automate testing, don’t need human beings. Just set it up, and you never need to touch it again. Regret regression testing is great for automation, you know, smoke testing in production, non-write operation, testing, or you don’t want to read anything to the database with automation in production because that can easily go awry. And you screw up your production database. Usability testing, for manual exploratory testing for manual stuff, one off testing, you know, should be manual, early stage development should be manual. So, I think you gotta be in the right spot. If there’s a bunch of stuff that you do over and over and over again, you’re spinning a bunch of wheels, and your company, you know, is at a certain place and your team’s at a certain size, then yes, automation makes sense. But I think there’s always just a really important balance there between manual and automated testing.
Matt Watson 31:59
You always need both right? Like, it’s not an either or thing for me. I agree. Yeah. You know, I almost see, you mentioned this earlier, like in an early stage company, it’s like, the founders are ultimately the manual QA people are like, we’re testing to make sure that shit works. Because we got to go sell stuff, we got a meeting with a customer, we got to meet with investors, like, I got to make sure all these things work, right? That’s how it starts. But the unique QA people that are more product-focused, they understand how the product supposed to work, and they have like, have actually some input to all that, right? Like, they’re really in the loop of of how the product is supposed to work, and are manually testing the things that are being done. I, you know, there’s probably some argument that you can use, like, no code QA these days, like I’ve used Rainforest QA and some things like that, that make it really easy to make scripts. And, you know, you could things that you would manually test, you could probably build those sorts of those really easy to do kind of no code QA for some things. But it doesn’t make sense to do those for all those things. Like, for example, recently, my team worked on like, Okay, what is the character limit of the field, like, you’d only type in 20 characters or whatever, it doesn’t make sense to build automated QA for every field on the screen, and the types of inputs that are allowed and how long the inputs are, and like, things like that, that you would kind of just manually test. To me, it makes a lot more sense to smoke test stuff, like you said, like, can I log in? Can I go here? Can I add something a shopping cart? Like whatever the things are? You absolutely need a battery of those kind of smoke testing through all the critical things in the system, right? But I imagined, you have some clients that are talking about like 100% test coverage. And I guess that gets into like unit testing as well. Not not necessarily the same thing as, like, QA testing, or integration testing. But you have some clients are like, we want to test every single possible thing there is.
Jay Aigner 33:52
I mean, I think some of them think that’s what they want, before we talk. And then, you know, I’m just very honest that I don’t think that I mean, for you, right, for units to the test coverage in my head is unit testing, right, which we don’t do, which I think is driven test mechanism. And they they knew their code, they just wrote they should write the unit tests. Yeah, we’ve run across those that they were just wonderful automated testing. That’s all we want to do. And, you know, I try to very gently bring it to them that you’re always gonna need people, man. Like machines don’t have context. You see it with ChatGPT and everything now, like, it’s a great tool. There’s lots of great AI ml tools, but they lack context. And people have that context. And it’s much easier for especially things that change. You know, like, as soon as something changes, you have to go maintain these tests like 30 to 50% of the time testing engineers bill is for maintenance, like updating the test that they’ve already written and it’s like, what value are you really getting? So, absolutely 100%, you should automate stuff, but I think there’s a really important battle and like you said, you need to really understand what’s your ROI on it? Right? Like, why are you doing? Are you doing because you think you should do on it are you doing because it’s actually saving you time and money?
Matt Watson 35:13
Well, I think there’s also a big difference between unit testing and that that type of testing, which is more code level testing for those who aren’t super familiar with it. And manual QA and automated QA testing. So for example, unit testing a lot of times is like in the weeds, kind of like, how does the watch work? How is the sausage made kind of thing? Where you, it doesn’t replace the fact of like, what is the sausage tastes like at the end? Or does the watch actually tell time or not? Like you still need like this final QA, that is sort of the end to end integration test, right? Like I put this thing in, I get this thing out, you can test all the bits and pieces, the middle of like how the machine works, but you still got to test putting things in and getting things out in like a real world test. Right. So to me, unit testing does not replace that real world test that is still needed. And that’s where QA comes in. And I’m a big fan of integration testing. And for example, my I own a company called AtCapacity that does digital marketing technology stuff. And the hardest thing for us that we don’t have any testing for that I wish we had more testing for but it’s really hard to build, like our integration with Google Ads. And we we create ads on Google and do all these things. But building a test for that is complicated, because you’d have to like automated, like, create a new account with Google every time that was clean, and then have sort of these sterile tests that you would run through like this giant battery? It’s, that’s really difficult to do those sort of integration tests. Do you guys do those kinds of projects as well?
Jay Aigner 36:48
Yeah. 100%? Yeah, we work with a lot of FinTech companies that have a ton of integrations. And, you know, there’s enough tools out there, there’s enough processes in place where you can do that stuff. Again, it just depends like, is it? Is the juice worth the squeeze? Right? Like, is it worth spending the time because it takes time to set up and it takes time to troubleshoot and test the tests? And to your point, like, at the end of the day? Would would that really save you enough time? Or would you be better off just to pay somebody to do it manually? Like, you know, you got to run the numbers and figure it out? Yeah.
Matt Watson 37:23
It’s really, it’s really hard. And the challenge is, like, for example of our Google integration, all the there might be 20, 50, 100 different scenarios of things that we’d like to test. That would be better to automate. Because I don’t know if I trust me manually to do all of them exactly the right way every time, right? Yeah. But it’s, um, it’s just too difficult probably for us to automate all that stuff. So the answer to all this is it depends like everything in IT and software development, QA all that the answer is always depends. There is not one right answer for everything. It depends on the type of product, the type of software development, all the different things, the industry are in, the stage that the business is in, right. Like if we’re sending software to go from here to Mars, we got to test the shit out of that thing, right? Because any coming back, and we can’t, we can’t hot fix it. Like, it ain’t never coming back. Right? We got to test the ship, right? That’s totally different than my startup weekend thing. I built this little thing I put online and nobody uses it. I don’t need to test it at all. And then there’s every scenario in between.
Jay Aigner 38:28
Yeah, I think that’s a that’s a great point. And it’s that’s also why maybe I feel like you’re making a sales pitch for me there. But like, that’s also why you need people to give you a true answer, right? Like, that’s why people work with us. Because I will tell you, what level of QA I think you need. And like I’ve done this, like hundreds of times, or hundreds of platforms, or hundreds of clients, like I will be honest with you and tell you, Yes, we can help you, no, we can’t. And if we can, here’s the path we should probably take. And if you know, I’m a trusted partner, I can deliver those results. So I agree, I think you need somebody to kind of point you in the right direction, sometimes in those kind of complicated scenarios.
Matt Watson 39:10
Well, people, people come to you because they need somebody they can trust, right? Yep. And it’s and for a lot of companies are like, I don’t know what to do. I need to find someone who’s an expert at this, that I can trust their opinion, and they can guide us the right way. And kind of like at Full Scale people come to us like we need help hiring software developers. We, how do we do this? We you know, we trust your help, right? For the same reason people come to you you’re like, I don’t know how to do QA or what to do. Please help me, right? Yep. Well, I do want to find the right if you need to hire software developers Full Scale is a good resource for you. One of the thing I want to ask you about was how is business like how is how is the economy affecting. Are you guys growing? You’re hiring? What? How, how is the business climate for you.
Jay Aigner 39:59
This is great man. Like, I hate this analogy, but I can’t stop saying it’s like, I feel like we’re like a funeral home, like, you’re always going to need QA, right? They’re always there’s no like that we’re never, there’s never going to not be enough software for me and 1000 other agencies to have work. When the economy’s bad, when it’s great, when whatever, like whatever, like, we’ve we’ve never really had this brick wall. We don’t need VC funds. So, like that stuff doesn’t affect us. Businesses’ great, man, like, you know, and since I’ve, you know, I’m blessed to have a really, really, really great team. My job is to focus on bizdev, and sales and marketing and just get clients in the door, fill the pipeline up, crushed discovery calls, get them, you know, get people excited to work with us. So, you know, that’s, life is good, man, it’s a great business to be in. And, you know, I think anybody that that works in a piece of software development, yeah, can drill in and have success, regardless of what the climate is.
Matt Watson 41:09
We’re seeing the same thing at Full Scale, you know, we’ve, we’ve got about 60 clients, and, you know, there’s some that the economy has taken a beating on some of our clients. And so, you know, we’ve seen some ebb and flow from some of our clients. But we talked to new people every week that are looking to hire developers still. So we’re growing, we’re hiring, we’re hiring more developers in the Philippines and continue to grow, but it’s, uh, I agree with your sentiment, like, there’s never ending amount of of work to be done. And there still will always be a shortage of talent. Like, there’s just not enough developers, QA, and all these other people in the world.
Jay Aigner 41:43
Well, they’re never going to stop making software. Never gonna stop, like ever. So I think we’re fine.
Matt Watson 41:48
Making and for your sakes, bad software, right?
Jay Aigner 41:53
For us to make good. So yes.
Matt Watson 41:56
So, one of the last questions I have for you is, so you, you know, earlier in your career, you’re doing QA, you start this professional services business, you’re doing QA for other people. And now you figure it out your whole job is actually sales.
Jay Aigner 42:15
Matt Watson 42:17
What is that? Like?
Jay Aigner 42:19
It’s a, I mean, you know, the same thing, man. It’s, it’s a it’s a, I think it’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s just like a weird thing to realize, eventually. And you you I remember, very specifically, early in my career with this business. People go, you’re the sales guy for your company. I’m like, No, I’m not like this. What are you talking about? Like, it’s Donald, not a salesperson. And then eventually, I was like, Oh, I am the salesperson. That is my job. My job is to bring clients in. That’s it. That’s it. That’s it. That’s my whole job, right? Like, if I do what I’m supposed to be doing, it’s put other people in the place in a position to be successful, hire people that are smarter than me in different areas of business, let them do their thing. Just bringing clients, right? And that’s, that’s what you kind of get to eventually I think, and then, you know, people hire salespeople and everything else. But I think the successful kind of excited entrepreneurs never believed that bizdev role, right? They’re always looking for the next big thing.
Matt Watson 43:18
You, you realize now that you went from doing QA and enjoying it, and then helping everybody else do a QA to realize like, now you’re a salesperson.
Jay Aigner 43:27
I love it, man. I can love it. I love it so much because I like, and somebody you know, you hear a million pieces of advice on how to be a good business owner, salesman, but it’s like, once you do really make that pivot in your head, and you convince yourself that you’re actually helping people. It doesn’t, it’s not sales anymore. Yeah, absolutely. How am I helping you becomes just a total mindset shift. And you’re just like your Howard, how am I fixing your problem? It just takes a lot of the stigma and the negative stuff away from testing the sales side.
Matt Watson 44:05
So, that that’s what’s fun about this is you become kind of the face and the brand, right and and, and I’m kind of the same way for Full Scale. You know, for those who follow me on LinkedIn, and my blog and all these other things. I’m curious for you for for this type of company. And like Full Scale sales is hard, right? Like it’s you don’t really run ads, like, people don’t respond to cold calling and email and all those kinds of things. How do you how do you attract customers? Is it primarily networking, referrals, that kind of stuff?
Jay Aigner 44:37
Yeah, it’s referrals. But I have a pretty strong drive for outbound and outreach sales. I’m not a huge inbound marketer right now. I like, I like the process of account-based sales. I like finding people who we I think it’d be a good fit and then figuring out how we can kind of get in contact and how to help them. So yeah, it’s networking, outbound sales, but really targeted-outbound sales, not I mean, we do some, you know, some cold email blasts and stuff, but for the most part, I really try to focus on bigger and better accounts that I think we can help, you know, be successful.
Matt Watson 45:19
Well, that’s good for you that outbound is, is working for you. Outbound is, you know, traditionally really tough for, I think, a lot of software development agencies and QA agents, QA agencies, and stuff like that. I would, I would imagine.
Jay Aigner 45:32
Yeah, I mean, I think if you compete in the cold game, it is tough. But I don’t. I mean, if you start local, like and buy local, I mean, Philadelphia, for me, which is like a pretty big target. You know, if you get a few of them there, it becomes my, my clients are my biggest salespeople.
Matt Watson 45:51
Warm intros, it’s not cold. It’s not cold mean, even if it’s cold, but you can still
Jay Aigner 45:55
be like, I work with this guy in Philly. And everybody knows that guy. And they’re like, Oh, hell yeah, I’ll work with you. Because you work with them. It’s like you get you get some kind of pieces together. And you can just spread that out.
Matt Watson 46:06
Absolutely. Well, I really appreciate having you on the show today. Again, again, this is Jay Aigner. And his company is JDAQA. Check him out at JDAQA.com. If, if you’re like, man, I really need somebody to figure out how to solve all our crazy QA problems. Jay is the guy. If you need help on the software development side, you can keep Full Scale in mind, too. So Jay, I always ask people if you have any final words of wisdom or tips for other entrepreneurs out there, and doesn’t have to be about QA; it could be about business or anything else.
Jay Aigner 46:39
I say this a lot. Just do it, man. Get off the chair, get off the couch, get off the whatever, just if you want to start an IT consulting or IT services business, you have any experience, just start getting customers start reaching out to people and saying, hey, I can help you. You know, let’s have lunch and just get out there.
Matt Watson 47:02
I love it. And I love, I love recommending to people to create professional services businesses like ours. Like, it’s a great way to get into entrepreneurship. So,
Jay Aigner 47:11
Yeah, I agree.
Matt Watson 47:12
All right, Jay. Thank you so much for being on the show today. Again, you can check him out at JDAQA.com. And thanks, everybody.
Jay Aigner 47:18