Ep. #1225 - Winning with Honest Feedback
In today’s Startup Hustle episode, Matt DeCoursey and PickFu co-founder John Li have a conversation about winning with honest feedback. Tune in to gain valuable insights from Matt and John on competitive analysis and acquiring pertinent feedback for your product. Discover tips on discerning valid feedback, effectively handling negative input, and why you should test before you invest.
Covered In This Episode
Feedback is vital for business success. It helps address issues and improve product and service offerings. However, not all feedback is valid and can significantly hurt a brand’s reputation. PickFu provides a platform for acquiring feedback from real people.
Listen to Matt and John discuss the importance of valid feedback and how to tell if it is. They also exchange ideas on why people find it difficult to receive feedback and how PickFu can help. John points out that it has loads of templates for all use cases and industries.
They point out that feedback should not be taken as a personal attack and provide tips on taking negative feedback. John encourages business owners to solicit reviews on the business name and logo early because rebranding is painful. The conversation also covers why Amazon is perfect for DTC sellers and the challenges of PickFu.
Feedback is coming, whether you like it or not. Find out how to turn it to your advantage by listening to this Startup Hustle episode now.
- John’s background (1:34)
- How to tell if feedback is valid (3:54)
- Why do people find it difficult to receive feedback? (8:23)
- PickFu is fantastic for any business whose customers are consumers (10:46)
- Why Amazon is a perfect marketplace for DTC sellers (13:07)
- The feedback is not about you but about your products (19:06)
- How to take negative feedback (22:07)
- Get feedback on your business name (25:19)
- Review on your logo (28:03)
- Review where it’s confusing (30:25)
- Rebranding is very painful (31:52)
- PickFu has thousands of easy-to-use templates (33:09)
- Feedback and data analysis should be actionable (33:56)
- The challenges of PickFu (36:21)
- Test before you invest (37:47)
- Get that feedback (38:35)
Entrepreneurs have this habit of chasing too many shiny things. And the feedback can do that. Just because someone gives you feedback doesn’t necessarily mean you must drop everything you’re doing and fix something else. Now, for me, one of the signs that you should be paying attention is when the feedback begins to get echoey.– Matt DeCoursey
I think feedback is often hard to take when it’s one-on-one and face-to-face. It is very direct and personal, so there are all these other elements at play there. I think part of the benefit of getting feedback from validated randos on the internet is that there is this wall. You don’t know who they are. So you know, at least, that they’re unbiased.– John Li
I feel most entrepreneurs really should test before they invest. That’s a saying we have in the company. With the tools that are out there today, there’s a lot of hypotheticals that you can test. The more you test and the more feedback, you are not guaranteeing success, but you are reducing your chances of failure. And so, if you want to improve your chances of a better outcome, you should definitely test before you invest.– John Li
Take a shortcut in hiring world-class quality software developers. Full Scale boasts a talent pool of engineers, developers, testers, and leaders ready to work on your project. You can also use a client-friendly platform that helps you manage your team effectively. Get started on your project today!
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 0:01
And we’re back. Back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation that I’m hoping helps your business grow. Speaking of conversations, at some point, as a business owner, you’re probably best served to have a conversation with everyone from future employees and investors, but how about your clients, customers, users, whatever it is that you sell, and whoever buys from you has feedback about what you do. If you are able to accept honest feedback and do something with it, then you will possibly be winning with honest feedback. That’s what we’re going to talk about. And more on today’s episode, Startup Hustle, which 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 the platform to help you manage that team. You go to FullScale.io. to learn more. There’s a link for that in the show notes. If you’re not aware, that’s my company. We love talking to Startup Hustle listeners. So go to the site takes like two minutes to fill out a form and see if we can help you out. Worst case scenario, maybe we’ll give you some good advice. With me today, I’ve got John Li, and John is the co-founder at PickFu. And you go to pickfu.com, that’s like P-I-C-K-F-U.com. There’s a link for that in the show notes. Straight out of the Bay Area, John, welcome to Startup Hustle.
John Li 1:21
Thank you for having me on, Matt. Super excited to chat with you. Yeah, and
Matt DeCoursey 1:24
I will accept your honest feedback throughout the day today if given. But with that, I would like to hear more about your backstory so we can get this conversation on the road.
John Li 1:34
Sure. So my back, my background is in software engineering. My co-founder and I founded PickFu, as a side business as a tool for ourselves. And when we were building another business a long time ago. One of the problems that we had when we were both entrepreneurs and working on that other business was that it was just the two of us. And we were always we’re both software engineers and product people. So we’re always debating about design, something we literally knew nothing about, right? What color to use, what header, what font, what what the webpage design should be. And so it was just him and like him, just into myself. And we’re just debating, like, people don’t know it too. People don’t know anything about design, this color, this color, whatever. We would ask our friends and family for feedback. And at some point, every entrepreneur knows that you know, your friends and family are going to get tired of giving you feedback, and you know that they’re not biased. So, and we heard that, oh, well, you know, you should go and bring your designs to a coffee shop to ask people, you know, to get unbiased feedback, and that was fine. But we were too introverted to engineers. And, you know, we didn’t like to want to talk to strangers. So instead, what do we do? We built a tool to get unbiased feedback from randos on the internet. And that’s what PickFu was. That’s how it started off. Barely did anything with it, kept it on the side, and it just started growing organically. And as, you know, as those fun stories go, eventually, the side project became the main project. And so a couple of years ago, as we saw it growing in a whole bunch of different industries, we turned our attention to it. We’ve been scaling it ever since.
Matt DeCoursey 3:10
Is the first business that this spun out of still around?
John Li 3:14
It’s basically on life support. Not really,
Matt DeCoursey 3:17
Isn’t it weird how that works? Sometimes, you know, it’s I’ve talked to, you know, over the years, you know, we’re been doing this podcast for almost six years now. And you know, 1200 plus episodes deep into it. And there’s been a lot of stories of the spin off or the pivot, and stuff like that. So congrats on finding the one that works. Now, if you go to PickFu.com, and I recommend, get scroll down to that link and click it, folks, because there’s some interesting info in here, that will kind of help you and I really love what you’re doing, John, because first off, let me back up friends and family, in my opinion, are sometimes the worst people to get your feedback from.
John Li 3:54
Matt DeCoursey 3:54
I mean, cuz they’re, I mean, well, my parents were a little more poignant with their feedback. But most of the time, your mom’s not going to tell you that your that looks terrible. And then if the people you’re getting feedback from are nowhere adjacent to your potential users or buyers in the future, then it’s not really the greatest feedback. Like are you asking your 87-year-old grandmother about to review your code as a software developer. So, it looks beautiful, John, but that’s not really like yeah, so you you get it but getting feedback and honest feedback from people is difficult. And if you’re just doing it through like reviews on Amazon or something like that. I mean, for me, as a buyer, I always questioned the legitimacy of some stuff. I know Amazon had to go through a big dog and pony show to clean that up. But when you look at as someone who’s in the business of unlocking insights and finding out information, how do you know when like feedback’s valid?
John Li 4:57
I think, well, you got to look at who the person is right? And so you’re you’re totally right about, especially, especially things where, like online on Amazon reviews, and so on where there’s an incentive for the seller to have the most positive reviews. You got to look at the incentive system there and understand whether or not like that might affect what it is that you’re reading. So what we’re trying to do at PickFu, is we do a couple of things. One, our incentive system is really simple and straightforward. You ask you ask a poll in our platform, we pay our panelists a small stipend to answer and every, as a customer, you can upvote or downvote, all the quality, all the answers, all the written responses. And because all our panelists provide written responses, we have human and machine models that can read those responses and do analysis on making sure that they are legitimate. They are paying attention to your stuff. And every single one of those panelists signs an NDA before they even start looking at anything that you’re pulling on the platform.
Matt DeCoursey 6:01
Oh, got it. Well, but well-vetted feedback.
John Li 6:04
Well-vetted feedback, well, well vetted unbiased feedback. The other thing that can help you there is that we do allow targeting, so you can target 90 different ways of, you know, like you said, about your 87 year old grandma, if you’re selling a pet product, or if you’re selling like an info course to, to, like, let’s say females of a certain age range and income range, you can absolutely target your target audience on PickFu. So you know, that you’re only getting feedback from the most relevant people, that are relevant to you.
Matt DeCoursey 6:36
Yeah, and that’s, you know, that’s the key. Like you said, like, who’s the feedback coming from, and then I think one of the things that I’ve always advise people when it comes to feedback, you know, entrepreneurs that we have this, this habit of chasing too many shiny things. And the feedback can do that. Just because someone gives you feedback doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to drop everything you’re doing and fix something else. Now, for me, one of the one of the signs that you should be paying attention is when the feedback begins to get echoey. You know, like, you just hear the same things over and over. And a lot of you that are listening before you even started your business. If you went out and tried to do general fundraising and get an investment from people, you definitely heard an echo somewhere along the way now, is it right? No, but not always. But a lot of times it is because a lot of people are noticing the exact same thing, whatever. It could be like, Hey, your pages load slow, or hey, I’m confused about this, or hey, I didn’t find this useful. But when enough people, I mean, that’s the whole the whole idea of like what you’re doing is can can we get enough consensus and enough input in a way that lets us really spot okay, there’s a lot of people that are having an issue here.
John Li 7:49
Exactly. And it’s it’s that wisdom of the crowds that we’re trying to bring and let let our users tap into, right? I mean, there’s that. I think there’s that famous story about well, you know, like, there was a county fair, and everyone was asked to guess, like, the weight of the cow or something, right? And, and individually, no one won. But if you took the average of all the different guesses, they were like within 5%. And that’s because when you have, when you have a bunch of qualified people or relevant people, and you get enough opinions on them, like you said, you hear that you hear the echoes of the relevant feedback.
Matt DeCoursey 8:23
So that how you how do you get your users that are administering the poll or that want the feedback to actually view it in a way that, like, people suck at taking feedback man. Like, I mean, I’ve been a coach, a mentor, an investor, development partner, and employer for I mean, at this point, hundreds and hundreds of people and, you know, I think I’ve learned is that feedback is not always taken well by some people. Some people take it as like strong criticism. They just take it personally. Which is why there’s a few mad people that are mad at me out there in the world because they’ve asked me for feedback. Well, by the way, when people do that, now I tell them, I like to actually have a disclaimer. I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear. I will give you the feedback and then with that, if you disagree with me, I’m not going to spend any time arguing with you about whether I’m right and you’re wrong, or the other way around.
John Li 9:20
I think. A couple of points there. That’s really that’s a really interesting and kind of pretty, pretty funny point you made. I think feedback is often hard to take when it’s one-on-one and face-to-face because there’s, there’s the actual individuals involved, right? Like, you’re like, I’m talking to Matt and Matt is giving me feedback. And that is very direct and personal, and I can see you and you can see me and so there’s all these other elements at play there. I think part of the benefit of getting feedback from randos on the internet, you know, like validated randos on the internet is that there sort of is this wall of well, you don’t know who they are. So you know, at least that they’re unbiased. And what the feedback that they’re giving, the fact that there’s, you know, 50 or 100, or like 500, people giving you feedback, like, you know that any, you might be offended by a single piece of feedback there. But if you’re reading 500 pieces of feedback, and you’re hearing the same echoes over and over again, I would hope that that message gets into your head. The other. The other flip side of this is that anyone who is using PickFu, hopefully is self-aware enough to know that they can’t just trust their gut on those decisions, and that they’re more open-minded to realize that if I get this feedback, like there’s probably a nugget of truth or a nugget of insight in there that I can benefit from. So hopefully, they’re coming at it from sort of a more open-minded perspective.
Matt DeCoursey 10:46
Before we hit record, you mentioned having met my co-host, Andrew Morgans at some different events related to Amazon. Are the majority of your users, Amazon sellers, or is there like, Is there is there a genre industry or type of user that you seem to attract more than others?
John Li 11:03
So PickFu is fantastic for any business that whose customers are consumers because we’re able to tap into a poll of, at this point over 15 million worldwide to get to offer feedback. It works particularly well for, for entrepreneurs on marketplaces of which Amazon has like some, some would say that our marketplace, the perfect marketplace, right?
Matt DeCoursey 11:29
By the way folks, Amazon is a marketplace like they don’t they own very, very little of that, of that inventory and products. And if they did, they bought it because they saw it was performing really well. And they could maybe make a couple extra bucks on it. But that is a marketplace through and through just like eBay without the bids.
John Li 11:47
Yeah, it’s it’s like a perfect marketplace. And I think that’s the most recent stat was something like 90% of Amazon’s revenue on on Amazon.com was from third-party sellers, right? Who are participating setting up storefronts on the Amazon marketplace selling their products and someone else’s products. So if you’re a seller on Amazon, and it’s it’s a competitive marketplace, then getting these, that getting the these insights from real consumers can absolutely improve your click through rate on the marketplace, which then drives the algorithmic rankings of your products. So when someone’s searching on Amazon for, let’s say, dog hair clippers, your image, which you’ve optimized on PickFu, is now going to rank click get more clicks than your competitors, which is going to put you higher, which then increases your sales. So roundabout way of answering, we do have a lot of Amazon sellers who are who do use PickFu. But we also, we also have a lot of customers who are in other industries like gaming, self-publishing, if you’re writing a book, and you need to, you know, they say not to judge a book by its cover, but like, everyone judges a book by its cover, you know.
Matt DeCoursey 12:53
My books have great covers, and then they’re just terrible afterwards.
John Li 12:56
Yeah, they’re just trying to compel the purchase, right? I’m sure that’s not the case there. But, we
Matt DeCoursey 13:03
Depends on who you ask
John Li 13:05
Who you’re getting feedback from, I guess, you know,
Matt DeCoursey 13:07
I’m glad you brought up the search engine stuff. Because, you know, Amazon, in my opinion, might be the most valuable search engine because people are truly there with the intent of purchasing. You know, at Google and and when you Google something you’re trying you’re in those earlier stages of that. Where in Amazon it’s pretty direct and that is a search engine it does have, I believe they use like the A for something like that. They call it an algorithm that Yeah, and you know, it’s it’s it’s real. I mean, that’s where people are buying stuff and whether you you know, I’ve had God I’ve had conversations all over the place some some sellers love in Amazon, some people don’t, whatever it is. The fact is, it is a whopper, it is a huge, huge, huge, huge, huge place to sell stuff. And you can’t ignore the factors that make your stuff sell better or faster.
John Li 14:01
It’s crazy. Yeah, we talked to a lot of DTC companies to the ones that have their own stores, have their own Shopify stores and sells
Matt DeCoursey 14:08
Direct to consumer.
John Li 14:09
Yeah, sorry, sorry. Sorry for jumping into jargons. Yeah. But even if you even if they have their own Shopify store fronts, they’ll say, Okay, well, we don’t really want to touch the whole Amazon thing. But once they do, once they get on Amazon, it’s like, oh, well, my my direct to consumer shop gets this much traffic. And once I tapped into Amazon, the pie is, you know, a billion times larger. So even if it’s a little piece of that pie, they’re getting so much more revenue on Amazon than off Amazon.
Matt DeCoursey 14:39
Sellers initially don’t like paying that fee. Amazon’s gonna pull like 30%, but, but they do a lot of work for you as well, like the fulfillment side of things not to mention, like, you know, marketplaces. I have this fascination with marketplaces. And I’ve talked to oh my god, I’ve had this conversation like 1000 times at this point. Marketplaces as a new entrepreneur very difficult, especially if you’re trying to build one because getting an appropriate amount of buyers and sellers in the same location, whether it’s physical or virtual, is difficult. And, you know, and so there’s something to be said about the value of the population of the buying people, yes, and where they are. And you know, Amazon’s got that. And that is what it is. That’s what you’re paying for. And not to mention the ease of use and the customer service side of things that can go with it. And that’s important to like, if you want to run your own, you want to so you mentioned like books. So I’ve written three books, they’ve all been number one on Amazon at some point. And that means, like, a couple of weeks of really robust sales, and then you sell like one a day. And the thing is, is at one point I had, I have a Shopify site, and I just didn’t sell enough to like it was more it just felt like more of a distraction. Like, yeah, and sure I made $4 more per book. So I made $4 more per day. And it just didn’t add up to, like, do my own stuff. So yeah, and then that the book feedbacks interesting too because there are sites and things and do just that, but they’re I don’t know, they’re a little odd. Like, in 2023 and beyond. I don’t necessarily need feedback about the grammar syntax on page 17. Oh, no, not at all. I mean, it’s written, John, it’s out, like, I’m not gonna go back and add it exactly how much someone wants a comma, or, dog forbid, you use an Oxford comma.
John Li 16:33
It’s funny. I mean, the publishing space was actually one of the first spaces that discovered PickFu, like that discovered PickFu, and especially among self-publishing authors who didn’t have a lot of resources. Like, you know, they found it like PickFu was super affordable and fast as a quick way to get that feedback.
Matt DeCoursey 16:51
Over and over 1 million new books come out every year. It’s probably more like 1.4 on top of the entire history of literature. Yeah. And like, think about that. Okay. So yeah, they teach us as entrepreneurs to do something to differentiate. How, how, on that one, I mean, that’s tough. Like, it’s, yeah, that’s a massive amount of inventory. And most people don’t know this, when you buy a book on Amazon, like a paperback or whatever, they usually print that copy when you order it. Yeah. Like they are doing that, it’s wild to think that you can just print a one off and ship it off and still get there two days later.
John Li 17:29
Yeah, they’re their economies of scale are amazing. So to show what a lot going on.
Matt DeCoursey 17:33
Alright, so once again, with me today, I’ve got John Li, the co-founder of PickFu, software development user research company out of San Francisco, California. Now, you know, speaking of the Bay Area, there’s a lot of developers out there. But if you’re not in the Bay Area, maybe if you are finding experts, software developers does not have to be difficult, especially when you go to FullScale.io. Where you can build a software team quickly and affordably use Full Scale is platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Go to FullScale.io to learn more. Clicks, click some links in the show notes, people. And while you’re at it, you know, go check out, we’ve been publishing clips of the podcast on our social media stuff. It only took us about three years to get up to speed. I think most people’s podcast seems more like a video interview these days, you know, by the looks of shorts, reels, or tech talks and all that. So we’re out there, people are out there. If you’re wondering how ugly I am in real life, that’s a good way to find out. So, okay, so, you know, let’s, I got a couple of tips here from my friend named ChatGPT. Nice about taking feedback, winning feedback. And, you know, staying calm and open-minded listening carefully separating yourself from the feedback that might be out of those is a key one right there. Yes. Yes. It’s not directed at you. It’s about your products or about your products.
John Li 19:06
Yeah, yeah, it’s not. Yeah, if you’re in, yeah, you just got to remember when you’re when you’re getting this feedback, like it’s absolutely not about you don’t take it personally. Right. Like, now it
Matt DeCoursey 19:18
Might be if your services you if you have you are like a very specific, like if the Matt DeCoursey School of coaching XYZ was what was being reviewed, then? Sure, it might be but that most people that’s not the
John Li 19:32
Right or if for the small percentage of people on PickFu, who’ve used it to test their profile photos or online dating profile photos. Then it might be a little personal.
Matt DeCoursey 19:43
Would you swipe right?
John Li 19:44
Yeah, no, we we have seen some interesting personal polls. And honestly, kudos to those users for putting themselves up there. No, I’m trying it out because the the panelists that we tap into are brutally honest. That is great when you are testing, like, you know, product packaging, your website, your logo, you want that brutal feedback. If you’re putting a picture of yourself up there, you’ve got to have some thick skin.
Matt DeCoursey 20:17
It reminds me of like the hot or not. Yes, yes. Like back when people still often had dial up internet. Yes. How old that is? Yeah, you know, the next one, this list is one that i i Okay, so I am the person that will send a founder or a business owner honest feedback. I will go out of my way, I will take time out of my really busy schedule, to sometimes tell maybe someone I don’t even know that well, if at all, to give them honest feedback about their business because I’ve had people do that for me. And I always express gratitude. Yeah, whether they’re and then guess what, when that occurs, they are usually telling you something that you need to hear you, as a business owner may not have been aware of. And then the main part is back to that, you know, they don’t have to take time to do that. Yeah. So like that, you know, have gratitude and people can focus. I think one thing this podcast has taught me, John is like, I look at, you know, 5 million downloads, and people from 194 countries have listened to the show. And I have a lot of gratitude for that. Because you can focus your time on an infinite number of things is, if people are taking time to give you feedback, or pay attention to anything you’re doing. You should have gratitude, not the other way around. I guess I know some people that are influencers or content creators that they don’t feel that way, and often get forced into a position of learning what gratitude really means. Yeah, so it can happen too. But yeah, have you you have to have a funny story about some the opposite of that somewhere, somehow.
John Li 22:01
The opposite of gratitude. We like it. Alright, how much time do we have?
Matt DeCoursey 22:06
Any, we may have to extend this the stories or I will say this is? No, there’s a couple that have to stand out that for whatever reason. Entertain us for a moment, John ready.
John Li 22:16
So so running this, this business where the, the job of the product is providing unbiased feedback, like, we definitely see our share of users who come in, not with an open mind, and not with, with a feeling with you know, with a heart full of gratitude, let’s say. And so we get countless, we get a lot of feedback from our users, like, Hey, I disagree with what these people are saying, and I want my money back, or I want what you know, like, like, they, they they just don’t get it, right? These these 100 random people that that just gave me feedback in an hour or whatever. Like, they don’t get what I’m trying to communicate here. And so you know, I want my money back because I’m dissatisfied. Now the whole point of the product and the service is to get you that unbiased feedback that you probably should hear. The one that stands out the most was in the early days, it was it was a guy who came in and he ran one poll was got his 50 responses and, you know, like pie, high-quality, unbiased feedback in like 15 minutes or whatever he went in, wrote a, Lord, it was, it was probably a five page single, like single space, you know, in the days where you like, double space to fill it. Single space, double
Matt DeCoursey 23:47
I double spaced because it made my made my papers I turned on at school seem longer.
John Li 23:51
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. He single spaced this thing. And it was like four or five pages of just a rant. About manifesto. It was a manifesto, to me to the product, you know, to my co-founder, like just everything. I’m like, you can’t even you’ve barely spent that much time or money using this product.
Matt DeCoursey 24:12
Or platforms fault that he didn’t get the feedback he likes.
John Li 24:15
Yeah, no, he did not agree with the feedback.
Matt DeCoursey 24:18
That must be the software’s fault.
John Li 24:21
Yeah, exactly. Right. If the software is flawed, it can’t be the people’s fault. And it couldn’t be his fault. So it was as a as an early or it was in our early days. And I think, you know, as founders like you take, as I’m sure you know it like you take every piece of feedback pretty personally, even though you’re not supposed to.
Matt DeCoursey 24:40
No one likes to hear about shit about themselves. Yeah, exactly. One wakes up and it’s like, I mean, well, there’s probably a very small number of people that have some weird like fat ash about that. But yeah, but overall, I don’t think anyone wants to hear all the terrible stuff that people want to say to and about them.
John Li 24:57
Yeah, exactly. And like that email is directed at me and my co-founder. And so, you know, we took it personally, I I responded. Probably shouldn’t know. But I tried to be as professional as possible, but I definitely wanted to address some of the things. It ended there. It was fine, but it was I still need a
Matt DeCoursey 25:19
I send a few of those emails myself. Yeah. So it’s, it’s more for me than it is for them. It’s there. It’s therapy on that one. Yeah. Can be. Alright. So a couple of things. And I yeah, this was our amazing production team here at Startup Hustle, get he came up with a list of some of the things and this is probably off your site or somewhere adjacent to. I think let’s throw some of these out. Because I think that these are good things like try PickFu. Okay, I love this one getting feedback on your business name before you go to market.
John Li 25:49
Oh, yeah. We pick through the name, PickFu. Yeah. Yeah, we think we have a lot of, we have a lot of entrepreneurs using PickFu. To test names, right? Come up with eight different names. You put it up in front of the crowd, you get feedback from it, you understand how people interpreted and not we, we picked through the name PickFu, we had a list of about 30 different names. We wanted. Short two syllables.com was available, all that stuff, whittled it down, and then we throw it up on PickFu, read all the comments. Yep.
Matt DeCoursey 26:19
I got a whole chapter. In that chapter. I got a whole section about that in my book, Million Dollar Bedroom because there’s I mean, people make some really egregious errors. And there’s even a I had to come up with an example that wasn’t too specific. But I came up with the fictional business compass wholesalers, which seems nice. A-hole Yep. Marijuana. And so you know, you see, I’ll tell you what some of the most popular posts and reels on the internet are people that haven’t thought about their business name, sign in front of their business and their work. Yeah, I mean, just some of that. It’s like, there’s some funny stuff out there.
John Li 27:04
The back in my days as a software developer, you know, there’s a popular site called Stack Overflow, which developers use. Before Stack Overflow, there was this the site that was popular for developers before Stack Overflow was called Experts Exchange. And so similar? Yeah, you can. So it’s an expert sex change, right? On the domain sitting there
Matt DeCoursey 27:28
Trying to do the math on that. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, there were some other things I mentioned. Like not like, no one wants a hyphen in your web domain. No, no, there are things that you sentence yourself to having. It’s like, it’s the same thing with like, using like, either the spelling or a number, you have to be like, you know, if it was like, hey, and you got to type in the number nine. Yeah, exactly. And I hear radio ads back when there was radio, I remember people like N, type in the number nine.com. That’s not the right way to do it.
John Li 28:01
You’re adding friction on your business at every step.
Matt DeCoursey 28:03
I think we’re, you know, the, it’s always best to have a.com, I do think we have progressed in a way that I think when people see a button with something scrunched together with a dot and then whatever you come after it, people are finally figuring that out that there was that. I mean, suffixes and wide variety. We’ve been around for a long time, but sometimes people just don’t seem to get on. Another one on this list, I really, I really dig is review of your logo. Yep. You know, like just getting some feedback on it. And I think that, here’s the thing, if you’re a brand new business, your logo and the impression of it has no brand value at all, it should be a strong indicator of what you do and how you do it in some regards. So like that, for sure. You know, and sometimes just keep it simple, like the Full Scale logo is the word Full Scale.
John Li 28:54
Nice. I mean, I think one thing that we’d like to tell entrepreneurs and anyone is that you should, you should test early, right? Like these things that you’re talking about your, your business, your ideation stage, in the ideation stage, and like, you can use tools like PickFu as a sandbox for your ideas, right? Like, because once you launch with that, you can’t take that back. Yeah. Or it’s or it’s a pain to take it back. Yeah,
Matt DeCoursey 29:20
Funny story talking about web domains because I’m the founder of GigaBook.com. You used it to book a show, this this recording session. So I bought GigaBook.com for $500 in an auction, I was like, this is a great name. It’s short. So one of my rules too is like your name should be able to fit in a Twitter handle, you know, and some of that and like so here I that everyone kept referring there like I went to GigaBooks.com And which I didn’t own and someone else did, and I was really excited to have bought GigaBook.com for $500 and then, and then I had to go spend $3,000 to buy GigaBooks.com just report it back to GigaBook.com. So very interesting that that’s back to the name. Like, you know, like I said, like, I mean, people I know like it wasn’t GigaBooks. Right? Yeah. So there’s Yeah, definitely a lot to be said there. Other things in there like testing your ad copy and proofing your website layout or your mobile UI. I like that a lot. Because where are you? Where’s this confusing?
John Li 30:25
Absolutely. Yep. Yeah, totally. We have this thing. We definitely recommend like you can you can have the panelists go to your website, review it, bring up questions about your website, or what’s confusing. A lot of Amazon sellers do that, where they’ll send them to the listing and try to review it and bring up questions about what like, bring up the questions that haven’t been answered, right? Because those are the questions that your consumers or your users are going to have. One other thing we launched recently was actually screen recordings. And so that’s really good for websites, right? It’s kind of like the old user testing where you can have someone come in look at your website actually listen to them talk about it as they’re as they’re taking a look at your site like super valuable.
Matt DeCoursey 31:06
But with their you also validating product ideas and designs before going into production. There are things that people will will point out. I just went through this I’ve been building, there’s I’m having a flagstone patio and firepit installed at my rural property and there’s a big playground next to it and a barn and with that there was going to be a large, a large berm that was covered in stone. Now, when we came up with an initial like concept for that, and then we kind of drew it out and we realized it was very phallic in the way that it went. And so I was like, if we fly a drone over this, we’re gonna look like we built a giant stone. You know what.
John Li 31:49
You’re gonna show up on TikTok.
Matt DeCoursey 31:52
No, we were smart enough to avoid that. Yeah, do you have a little drone? And I was like, I’m not gonna be able to fly this. So like, it was kind of funny. But yeah, so these are the things that sometimes you will point out and there’s a whole world of products, businesses at everything that didn’t get tested property properly. And they learn this stuff the hard way after and it’s a painful thing, man. These are, these are things that like you mentioned, like launching or going out and doing certain stuff, like having to completely rebrand any, any business, whether it’s brand new or anything is as difficult it gets progressively harder, the longer the business has been around. Exactly. You know, is it Twitter or X now? It was just X.
John Li 32:36
I don’t even know. And I think you’re supposed to call them posts now. Because you can’t call them tweets anymore or something. It’s ridiculous.
Matt DeCoursey 32:43
It was like Facebook. I don’t I still call it Facebook.
John Li 32:47
Oh, yeah. Meta isn’t? Is it?
Matt DeCoursey 32:51
Is that’s the company.
John Li 32:52
I think that is the like the umbrella company. And
Matt DeCoursey 32:54
I still go to facebook.com. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. All right. So it says here that you guys have over 110,000 polls. Is that the number of user polls? Are those like templates? Or?
John Li 33:09
Oh, no, yeah. So those are usable. Those are actual polls run by users. I think it’s definitely much higher than that. Now we have a whole bunch of templates. So you can ask, you can go in on PickFu and create a free account and ask any question you want. It can all be customizable. So it’s just asking a question putting in your options and choosing your audience. But over the years, we’ve seen certain use cases come up over and over again, like if you’re, if you’re split testing your logos are wanting to get in, like getting a website review or something. So we actually made pre-configured templates for all of these really common use cases. And so we have these, we have these templates for all for all different industries. If you’re an entrepreneur, you have your website, if you’re selling something if you’re being in a game, all of that stuff. So we have these pretty easy to use templates for almost anyone.
Matt DeCoursey 33:56
What about insights? So feedback, data analysis, any of that stuff is really only valuable if it can become actionable. That’s the problem with a lot of data analysis, you go back and figure out why everything fell apart, but you didn’t do it fast enough to prevent things from falling apart. Yeah. Like how do I take the feedback that I get at PickFu or just in life and turn that into an action plan?
John Li 34:22
So yeah, there’s there’s a lot of things that technology can help with, but there it’s, it’s a little harder because you you need to be action-oriented to begin with, right. Like I think one of the things that we have tried to do recently is we actually, we actually added AI to help organize some of those responses. So if you’re asking, like getting feedback from 100 different people that’s that takes a while to read through especially if that back is sort of long and brutal. But you know, we’ve used your friend ChaTGPT to help read through all the responses. Organize it into like a nice executive summary and even make suggestions on how to improve things. The thing that was really easy, like customers really liked is actually being able to chat with that data as well. So we’ve added that option, that functionality. But honestly, it’s really it’s kind of like those grumpy users that we’ve talked about earlier. Like, if you don’t, if you’re not willing to change, then it’s going to be really hard for you to take any action, right? Like, step one is getting the feedback. But step zero is actually being willing to admit that a change is necessary, and that you’re gonna
Matt DeCoursey 35:32
I wrote a book about it. My first book, Balanced Me, is all about that. And literally right there in the interest says, If you’re not willing to admit that you might be your own biggest problem, I’m not sure this book is going to help you just go put it back, you probably won’t like it, because the inherently people don’t like change and difficult to maintain and implement and be successful with overtime.
John Li 35:57
Yeah, exactly. And I mean, tool tools like this are just a way to help you get to the change that most of the time you already, you know, you might already realize that you need, right? But you just need a second opinion, or a third opinion or like a 50th, or something.
Matt DeCoursey 36:12
So what’s the biggest problem you’re trying to solve right now in the business, and in general, as an entrepreneur still related to PickFu?
John Li 36:20
I mean, I think distribution and awareness is always one of the biggest things for startups. And so that’s really the main thing. We, we are fortunate to get a lot of users from a bunch of different industries. So we see a lot of different use cases. I think educating our users on how to different how to solve how this product can help solve their problems is always something that we can be better at. So those are the things that we’re always working on.
Matt DeCoursey 36:47
I think one of the things that a lot of tech companies can do better at is hiring software engineers, testers, and leaders. And with that, Full Scale can help. We have the people on the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few questions and then let our platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers, and leaders. At Full Scale, we specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more at FullScale.io. While you’re down there, clicking that link in the show notes, make sure you click the link for PickFu. Get some feedback about what you’re building. Now with that, it’s time for the founder’s free sell is how I like to end my shows when I talk to any founder congratulations on your pivots and your successes and making it through 38 minutes of this show. Now, with that, it’s time to begin to say goodbye. What would you like to use your freestyle for today?
John Li 37:47
I mean, I think the main thing that I feel most entrepreneurs aren’t doing and don’t realize is that they really should test before they invest. That’s, that’s a saying we have in the company. As we talked to other entrepreneurs about it, with the tools that are out there today, there are a lot of hypotheticals that you can test. The more you test and the more feedback you get, you are not guaranteeing success, but you are reducing your chances of failure, right? And so, if you want to improve your chances of a better outcome, you should definitely test before you invest. Before you invest your money, your time. As you said about your branding, your logo, all this stuff that’s going to take if you aim in the wrong place, you’re gonna get bad results.
Matt DeCoursey 38:35
Yeah, and, you know, for my freestyle, I think a couple of things. Here’s one, get feedback, like, go try and get it. Use PickFu, and if you’re not using PickFu, pick up the phone. Yeah, hold the block. I have a trusted circle of peers slash advisors slash people that I will call anytime I want a straight answer. Get people like that in your life. Like I’m gonna. I’m that guy for so many people. Like, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard you reaching out because I know you’ll tell me the truth straight. Yeah, but that shouldn’t happen in life. I don’t think that should have to be a thing, like, but with that, get people around you that will give you an honest answer. For me, when I look at giving feedback to people, sometimes the best advice that I can give you is to not do anything at all. Like I mean, some, if not all, not all, not all ideas are good. There are bad ideas, and you’re trying to get those out of the way, right? So like, I don’t like that phrase, either. There are no bad ideas and brands, or yeah, there’s a whole bunch of I’m just trying to get them out of the way. Now, with that, you know, seek the feedback. I think one thing that I didn’t mention during the show that I would like to also put in, make it easy for people to give you feedback. That’s where a platform like PickFu is going to help you out. But for me, I just have this I love tests before you invest. One of my main things is that if you want help from people, the easier you make it for people to help you, the more help you’re gonna get. Yes. If you make it difficult like John, if I call you and I want your info, feedback, counsel, or any of that, it’ll sound like this. Hey, John. I’d really love to get some feedback from you. I am available at any time you are telling me when. Right? Because I not like, hey, and because of the online booking thing, obviously, with GigaBook and all that, but at the same time, like, you just tell me I’ll figure the rest out. Not like here’s my wimpy nine to three availability, you know, and some of that. If you make it easy for people to help you, they will. You will get more help and feedback as part of that. So, do that. Check out PickFu. John, I’m gonna, I’m going to head on down. Did you have another comment? No, not at all. Okay, okay. Sometimes when I’m in this virtual studio, I look at folks, I’m like, I can just kind of I can kind of sense it, but I’m gonna head on down the road. I’m going to get some feedback about what I’m doing. If you’re still listening, why don’t you give us some feedback? Click that fifth star, and leave us a great comment. That’d be great. John, I’ll catch up with you down the road.
John Li 41:15
Thanks a lot, Matt.