How to innovate fast by staying small until PM-fit – Founder Story with Blake Folgado from Outside

Product Stories
How to innovate fast by staying small until PM-fit - Founder Story with Blake Folgado from Outside
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Summary:

Go big or stay small? Implement the best from both worlds. 

Today’s guest is Blake Folgado, CEO and Co-Founder of Outside. Blake has seen it all and shares his insights on how to innovate fast by staying small until the ability to achieve product market (PM)-fit.

Episode Highlights/Topics: 

  • Parental Influence: How Blake started his entrepreneurship journey in software
  • Education vs. Entrepreneurship: At an early age, Blake knew which path he would take
  • Batteries Included? Manufacturing products is hard, especially if you make a mistake
  • Takeaway: Start simple and build up as you learn rather than make assumptions
  • Food Delivery Service: Challenges were logistics, accuracy, competition, quality, scaling
  • Insurance: Out of frustration, make it easier to pay for only what you need and use
  • Software Solves Problems: Priority is to bring people together via meaningful connection
  • Recipes for Success: Create clear mission to solve specific problem and find PM-fit
  • What’s next for Outside? New release going out with features based on feedback

Resources/Links:

Blake Folgado on LinkedIn

Outside

SuperbHire

Trustshoring

Read the transcript:

Victor [00:00]: Go big or stay small. Today’s guest has seen it all and shares his insights. Blake Folgado has started tiny bootstrap companies, but also worked at a funded scale up that grew from 5 to 170 people when he was there. He brings all views together and shares with us how he implements the best from both worlds to bring his current company outside towards product market fit.

Intro [00:26]: Welcome back to the product stories podcast, hosted by Victor Purolnic. This podcast helps founders like yourself to find leaner ways to build successful SaaS products.

Victor [00:39]: Blake, welcome to the show.

Blake [00:41]: Good to meet. Yeah. Thanks for having me on.

Victor [00:42]: How did you start your journey in entrepreneurship? How did that happen?

Blake [00:46]: I think with it me, it always came from my parents. I was born in South Africa and at the time, my mom and my dad, were always doing sort of different companies together, mostly around like sort of software things. And my mother was the accountant for the company and then we moved to England. It just always became a passion of mine and I knew as I was sort of left school that I wanted to start something and my first sort of test of that was my Xbox broke. And for me, I was like, okay, let’s see if I can fix it. And I fixed it. And that was my life. When I was like 14 or so.

[01:23] So once after fixing it, I realized I could potentially fix other people’s and started sort of making ads online and then fixing people’s Xboxes. And that was where I was sort of like, oh, this is very fun. Now I can sort of after school buy food and whatever I want. Beause this is my money. That was the sort of like catalyst.

Victor [01:45]: You were actually running ads for your business when you were 14 years old? That’s impressive.

Blake [01:49]: Yeah. So like Photoshop, was just sort of trying to make stuff to put ads online. It was quite weird because I was in the garage and I’d be fixing them and it eventually got cascaded down to like modifying consoles and stuff like that. And then one like having a person that would come to my house and pick up like a car full of Xboxs, because I’d buy a lot on eBay and he would then go fix them for me and then he’d have like a commission and I was like, okay, I’m going to outsource the fixing because I actually make more money if I modify. But it’s a bit more time consuming. My mom like stepped at the time, she is like, what is going on? Like just people knocking on the door. I’m here for Blake and I’m like, okay here is your Xbox. I have like my part of cash.

Victor [02:38]: Hilarious. So that was high school. And what did you do after high school? Did you go the college route or did you just straight go back into entrepreneurship full time or what did you do?

Blake [02:50]: It was quite funny. I speak to my mother about this, like a few weeks ago where we never even spoke about university. Like I was just not going to go. I don’t think I got the best grades either. So sort of when I got the envelope, I was like, okay, that’s it. Now I’ll just put that in like the draw somewhere. So I was going to start something, which is like a company to sell sort of games, but I eventually didn’t do that. And I joined this toy company, which is like relatively local to me. And it was like 3 to 4 people at a time. And I joined as like a designer sort of doing everything from, this is like children’s toys. So the manuals, the packaging design, and then through to like the sort of product design later. And then even the sort of trade shows. So the first thing I went into was just sort of small, kind of a startup in a small city.

Victor [03:40]: Cool. And how did that go? You had co-founders. What were your learnings from that?

Blake [03:46]: So this one I joined as it was like the people that sort of set up the company and I joined as like sort of an employee. And I was there for a few years and it was kind of crazy because manufacturing products is very hard and it’s very real. And you make a design mistake and then a factory has to spend like a week relabeling stuff. I made a mistake once where we did this big promotion with this big company. And we said, it was not supposed to include batteries. So it was supposed to say not included on the box. And for some reason I put included and we went a print and then all these people like opening the box, like where the batteries. And that was like a nightmare.

[04:27] So learned a lot about like detail and how much that stuff matters. And what people think about when they look at a product, but then yeah, after that, kind of at the time, going to a bunch of like parties with friends and some of that kept coming up again, and again, was like after we spent time together, we’d all try to consolidate all of our photos into like an album. And it was a bit of a nightmare. Dropbox wasn’t as much a thing nor any sort of shared albums. I don’t think there was even icloud, this just wasn’t a thing. I was sort of like, well, how do we, it seems like an app would be appropriate for this. How do you make an app? I have no clue.

[05:02] And I think after sort of meeting a few people, I arrange used to a development agency in Catveta in Poland. And then we sort of started like really the design of everything, which I still got the files now. And they are terrible. I don’t know how anyone would accept projects so badly scoped. But it was interesting because we then flew there, spent quite a bit of time really. They actually helped a lot, like a lot of learnings, like how to think of building a product and then we made. That was like the first sort of startup I guess and it’s called Venteo.

Victor [05:39]: That’s cool. So you figured you have a problem, want to share photos with friends or relatives and at that point there was no really good solution out there.

Blake [05:54]: It was like, if you go to say a house party and 20 of you take photos at the end, the person, the host, whichever would be like, send me your photos, can you try and send them to me? And they try to organize it. Like, if there’s a snap where you sign up, you take your photos and it’s just in it, the same album that would save us a lot of time.

Victor [06:12]: That’s right. Yeah. Okay. And then you fly to Poland and you were semi prepared to work with. What year was that more or less?

Blake [06:24]: Maybe like 2015.

Victor [06:29]: Around that time. And that’s the first time you’ve built software, right?

Blake [06:34]: Yeah, exactly. So like when I was in this sort of Xbox thing, I made like a forum and a few things, but it was mostly like me just copy and paste and a lot of like. Pretty janky

Victor [06:48]: And what was your expectation of what it would be to build an app versus reality working with the guys on the ground?

Blake [06:57]: I think like what you imagine to be true is that there’s sort of one perfect path that you need to design around, which is usually probably wrong. The first thing you do is probably not right. And I think out of naivety, we sort of went very heavy in, on this is it, like this golden design, golden products is going to work and you’re going to go to moon and then we’re so complicated as a first version, there’s so many edge cases and not edge cases, just like expectations of it from a user that sort of become after thoughts. And they’re not very efficient and smooth. And I think that sort of takeaway was like, I don’t even know if I really understood the takeaway at the time, but much more now that you need to sort of start very simple and build up from there as you learn rather than start, full, like totally full of assumptions because it becomes, I think very painful for everyone.

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Victor [08:38]: Did you launch that app? Was it used? Was it in production?

Blake [08:44]: Yeah. So we had it out in the app store, we had actually used a few festivals and like concerts. So I mean, this is like pretty crazy. We are trying to also get companies to pay us, to have like their watermark on the image. So if you’re at a concert, [09:01 inaudible], like thousands of people on the app and they take photos, then when they share them to friends, then they could have the logo in the corner and it helps promotion. So we’re trying to juggle that whilst iterating the product. And I think sort of lost site a bit on, probably you should just focus more on its racing than that side, but it did actually get to go to a Snoop dog concert, which is quite cool. So that was one of the benefits I enjoyed, but yeah, so in the app store, had some people using it, but we just didn’t crack like, this is a very simple use case to use it, relatively often. But it was quite a lot of weird things you tried to get users, which were quite fun.

Victor [09:38]: Well, amazing. I mean, first company, it’s always a lot of trial and error. So this is cool. And then you started food delivery service. Is that right?

Blake [09:49]: Yeah. So I was in a sort of co-working space. So I met someone there that was like starting working on like a food delivery app and we sort of joined forces, it was really fascinating because I never thought I’d want to work in sort of food delivery. And at the time this is like 2016, 2017, or, no 2015, 2016, just checking. You couldn’t order anything like a franchise meal, like a McDonald’s, KFC subways app. Like no one would sell that on any app. Because they just didn’t want to. They thought it was like bad for the brand. By the end of the day, like people love buying that sort of stuff.

[10:27] So I had a website that like ranked really well, SEO wise. So you search McDonald’s delivery in London, we’d be above McDonald’s. So it’d always be the case that we’d have people coming in and ordering. And then the real challenge was the logistics and keeping the service, like super great. That was a very big lesson on that side.

Victor [10:50]: So you had drivers kind of like an Uber eats actually on staff that were delivering food to people.

Blake [10:57]: Yeah, exactly. It was interesting because this is when, Just eat, Uber eats are sort of joining in this sort of the competing and delivering was like hyper scaling. So I mean like the pricing for drivers, like the pay, how they were paid literally changed every week. It was crazy. It was like so insanely competitive and we didn’t really raise anything because we were sort of like, we just sort of keep this going between us. And we went through sort of entrepreneur first and one of the first sort of typical consumer, companies that sort of went through it.

Victor [11:32]: That’s an accelerator.

Blake [11:33]: Yeah, exactly.

Victor [11:35]: Nice. How big were you, was the scale of this?

Blake [11:38]: So it’s two of us, like sort of full time on the team and then up to one point like 35 drivers or so sort of mostly part-time, some fulltime. Yeah. We’re doing hundred plus, hundred orders a day. It’s kind of wild because this is also exciting. But at the same time it was a big challenge, if you got like sort of unlimited demand in a sense, like we just never would service the demand and the more you try serve it, in some ways you then have like diminishing returns in terms of quality. And it just very hard to keep, it was just very difficult at a time.

[12:14] And I think just sort of how new all this was to us, was keeping all sides of it. Just awesome. It meant that we had the driver app as well, the website also in like, so many things can go wrong when someone’s trying to deliver you food. Like someone gets hit by a car or like all sorts of things can happen.

Victor [12:37]: Wow. So the problem really was quality at scale, like repeatable service at a plantable scale I presume because you said you did have almost unlimited demand, but like scaling was the issue, right?

Blake [12:52]: Yeah. It’s sort of, it was just like up super early in the morning and you’re still going at like 12 midnight, because you’d be delivering until the place is shut. And like you wake up to chaos, you go to bed to chaos. It was like pretty awesome because you’re sort like this is really working and I think, there’s sort of so much you could sort of taken away from what to do, what to try and do, anything sort of, you feel like you’re on top of a hill, but then it’s like another hill and it’s just like more people.

Victor [13:29]: What do you think the Ubers do better or is it just that they were able to raise the money and could just buy their way out of certain problems?

Blake [13:40]: I think you sort of you sort of need to have fail safe. So just enough, I think you sort of need to oversupply drivers. You need to have lots and lot of drivers, first of all, because we’re at a stage where even if one person calls in sick, that could really cause a lot of issues or one person runs out of fuel or tire pops, whatever, that would, if you run like an air fleet and you’ve got limited planes and one of the planes has like oil leak, you don’t have any other planes to bring to like, and then it’s just a dominoes of issues and you need to have lots of drivers, very efficient at how you manage them and then also be comfortable with taking less orders and never have quality as an expense.

[14:25] I think that’s the thing because what we learn is like people would come back again and again and again. And our delivery charge at the time was like up to like 10, 12 pounds, which would be unheard of today. But it meant that, if you know what the taste of like McDonald’s is and that’s what you want, it’s what you’ll pay for. And at this time there was no one really competing with us. So people would pay it and then it was sort of on us to try and make sure we get it to them quickly.

Victor [14:56]: Well, I guess in the end, obviously the big delivery companies might have an advantage at scale and cost wise as well. But on the other hand I’m not sure. I haven’t read up on that but I presume it is a bit of the Amazon strategy of running a loss to acquire users. So in the end, as a boots trap company, that has to be at least [15:22 inaudible] profitable to scale, you can’t compete, not possible.

Blake [15:27]: And one thing as well, we never had any partnerships, which I think was actually a massive advantage to be honest. So instead like we just trained drivers how to move through a queue quick, and it’s like, just get in, try and find a way to get in front of the queue. And it was usually a case that at busy McDonald’s or any of these sort of takeaway places, there’d be more check-in people or like places to pick up your food from then queues. So people normally could form to like minimal five queues when there’s actually nine people serving.

[16:00] So it’d be like, just try and slot your way into one of those spaces. But it meant that we could onboard [16:04 nandos] like tomorrow we just add it to the website, take a bunch of photos of the food. And then it’s like, okay, now we serve nandos, without any sort of partnership of any sort.

Victor [16:15]: Wow. That’s interesting. And that makes a lot of sense and I don’t know how it was back then, but today, everybody let’s screw the delivery guy, right? It’s just weird when you then start taking an order and ordering from zero, but Hey doesn’t matter.

Blake [16:28]: People were like, it just wasn’t a thing, like no one is picking up food from McDonald’s. It was like what the heck’s going on here? It’s quite funny.

Victor [16:37]: So in your first company, essentially, you learned that you need to trade, start minimal, you need to trade. Second company, scalability, quality. That’s kind of what you really learned. And your next step was to join a scale up. How did you decide you’d now work for someone again?

Blake [17:02]: So I think like ultimately my plan was to start something new and I thought that it probably just makes a lot of sense to go through it with another company and see what that experience looks like in terms of, go from a small team to like a big company or big-ish company. And then when I saw a Cuvva, it was ironic because I was speaking to a friend like a few weeks ago about like insurance and how terrible it is. And as a user, it sort of doesn’t seem like it’s getting much easier for me each year, as many other things usually do and it’s like super important it’s legal requirement.  But the, like Monzo was sort of growing at the time and they sort of radically changed what you can expect from a bank.

[17:40] So Cuvva like, oh, like this actually makes things way easier for me as a user for my own life. I know that’ll probably be useful for like lots and lots of other people. And it was like five, six people at the time then I sort of yeah, applied, joined. And then my first day I arrived at the office and I’m like, oh, I didn’t, like I moved to London. So I still had my bag and I didn’t have anywhere to live. So I was just like, I’ll find a hostile for a few weeks. And then basically Airbnb hopped for a few months until I found somewhere, which was actually really great because I met lots of cool people during that process, but every few weeks I’d come into the office with my big bag again, like okay need to find a new place to go live.

[18:21] So it was Cuvva, it’s like an insurance company that makes it, you could insurance for an hour. So at the time you could only buy insurance for a week or a month at a time. So the option of borrowing someone’s car just wasn’t even a thing. So they sort of opened up a whole new approach to insurance where it can be, just the price is based on what you’re using. So if you just use it for an hour, you can pay for an hour. And that would mean that for me, my life, I could borrow my mother’s car, for example, without having to pay for a whole month, which would be a bunch of money and I can just borrow it, whenever I see them just for a few hours at a time.

Victor [18:56]: Okay. That makes a lot of sense. And so you started super early stage, right? It was like five people when you joined and what were you doing there?

Blake [19:06] So I joined like a product designer and I guess like any sort of early stage company and also a bit later but you sort of have a lot of hats. So only like designing how the product would work with the other rest of the team because we sort of all pitched in on these sorts of things. Because we are all sort of users, but then also the ads and sort of anything we needed to get ourselves out there and we had a tiny, one iOS engineer and then we hardly even had anything on the website. And then the rest are sort of two backend engineers and that was it.

[19:41] We sort of just sit around a table and year on end, really just sort of evolving the product bit by bit and then sort of noticing, compound growth, each week was always our best week for years. And then you sort of like trying to figure out what’s a thing because, like I don’t know. And then you try to dig into it, like just do more of that, like whatever that is. And our thing was, the faster we can make the product and the simpler. The faster, simpler, and the more we can ensure, like it would always sort of, people have a better experience than tell their friends more and it would sort of grow from that.

Victor [20:15]: Now I presume that that wasn’t as operation heavy as you were food delivery business. It was software, probably some customer support that needed to be scaled. Did you manage a bunch of people or run a team at any point within that company? Did you learn anything there?

Blake [20:34]: Yeah. So I went from like, yeah. So the designer, to then like growing the design team and then sort of experience team, product design, sort of all visual aspects, like what we sound like. And then like the last year I was there, I was like product director. So that was like five sort of product teams. So some more like operational heavy and then the like internal tooling as well. So I think something that’s like not really known much about Cuvva, but like MPS scores, like incredibly high, like 75 plus. On the customer support side, something that we always focused on from the beginning. And we’ve eventually got like surpassed, like under a minute response time 24/7 and that’s like, no outsourcing.

[21:17] Our own internal tooling is very efficient, very fast. So if the product’s very quick, I think the service should be very quick. And this would mean in the early days, everyone did support up until maybe last year or so. It was expected for people to do like a few hours support here, regardless of the role and when they would join, they’d also have to learn how to do support just so you really understand the user. But yeah, so like the changes just going from designer on one team and then sort of leading designers to like 12 or so in that team and then the product function, which is like 60 people or so across the different sort of teams.

Victor [21:56]: Wow. That’s a pretty big team, obviously. I assume that was a funded company, right?

Blake [22:01]: Yeah. And the great thing as well, unlike many companies, I think Cuvva actually like would generate quite a lot of good amount of revenue just from the sales. And I think that was like something that was always great is, not only will you have engagement or those sorts of things, but you also have like actual, like how much money is the company making and those sorts of things, which is good.

Victor [22:24]: Nice. Okay. So now you’re the third company, not yours, but the one you were working at. Seems you’re kind of bringing together these learnings from the past where quality is super important. Response time is super important. Understanding how to scale, how to manage people, how to bring all that together. And it seems that has really worked out. I mean, you guys scale 270 people when you left. I actually don’t really know that much about the company itself. It’s probably quite a big deal in the UK. I’ve not heard of it.

Blake [22:59]: But one of the main things, like one of the most in terms of like percentage of policy sold in the country, it’s like above 5% of all insurance is just through the small, pretty small company, because it’s sort of very high, high volume. And I think remember, one of things, always like it was cool. We used to have like an internal tool page, where we could see how often policies are bought. We used to have it down to the seconds. You could see like every 30 seconds. And then eventually we got rid of the seconds because it was just like, it was just, now just changing the minutes because it was sort of like, there was like so many policies being bought every few seconds, which is awesome.

[23:37] And that was where I was like, oh this is very real. And the amount of people and I mean as a product designer and like as a team, we had a bit of responsibility where, if someone’s driving a car, you can’t spam them with like notifications. It’d be obviously not the right thing to do. And it’s sort of like a product of real utility where people are actually going to drive and they’re going to take risk. And there’s a lot to that. I think when designing a product like it has to, you really gotta make it really great because it’s a very important buying decision. And then you could be like a bunch of people in the car and need to make sure they understand what they’re buying and all these sorts of things.

Victor [24:16]: And at what point did you decide that was enough for that given stage? What made you reconsider, probably continuing to grow that business as one of the very first employees?

Blake [24:30]: I mean, like sort of had this like, you don’t need to start something new in a sense. I knew I wanted to start something. For me, even when working like the photo sharing and then like food delivery, I was like, actually, I think I want to start something new. Maybe something a bit bigger in terms of what problem it could be solving for people. So important, help solving people’s problems in different ways. But if I could work on something that solves like a problem that may take decades to have a significant impact, I think it would be worthwhile use of like time. And then I want to now do that, sort of use all the things I’ve learned and all the mistakes and all that sort of stuff and start something brand new.

Victor [25:14]: What problem did you decide to tackle?

Blake [25:16]: The end of last year I was speak to someone I used to work with. So he joined Cuvva just before me, like five years ago. And we worked together for like four years and I think we had this sort of like discussion between us. We’re like, I think we’re going to start something together and then eventually I was like, oh yeah, I think we should. And we would go back and forth on a bunch of different problems that we thought like, not only very passionate about, but we think are really important. And the two that were the ones that we sort of would keep going back, a lot of things would sort of consolidate down to what can you do to help reduce the sort of wealth gap? And if you could build a company that builds products around that probably a good use of time and really helpful.

[25:56] And then the other was what we were sort of noticing in our own lives. And people around us and online is become normal for people to feel alone. And there seems to be this sort of emerging problem where, it’s not getting easier for us to have meaningful connection with our friends and to meet new people. And there’s a feeling of like sort of, isolation that we think is important. Try and make a change against. If a lot of time is being spent with like, I think it’s a lot of benefits, the sort of metaverse sort of side. But is that the only option and should there be a

company that’s sort of, how do you make it like incredibly easy and very fast to meet new people, see your friends more. And that comes with a lot of benefits, like health benefits, like your personal growth, your identity, all sorts of things by spending some time with people and putting yourself out there and sort of going outside.

Victor [26:52]: Totally. I mean, it’s harder than ever to schedule and see your friends, but how are you solving that problem?

Blake [26:59]: Yeah. So I think you want to be like to the point where the only thing you really have to worry about is who you want to see and we’ll sort of figure out all the rest and get you together and you can meet new people sort of through your friends. So where you eventually want to be is you open outside, you tap a button and there’s someone very interesting around the corner and you can go meet them. And then you could always, you can meet up with other people too. But our starting point is we’re going to help people be the easiest, fastest way to see their friends and then meet new people through their friends. So sort of like the click of a switch, your friends can now bring other people with them, that way you don’t have to worry about like the monosomy of like trying to organize stuff and give people’s phone numbers and all these things.

[27:38] And it’s like, if an app is like super light really efficient, you can meet these people very quick. And then the sort of organizing of things of how this stuff is done is like, it doesn’t feel like you’re planning anything, but hopefully you feel like all of a sudden you’re like on your way to meet up with them and sort of not following, I think a lot of norms and that we sort of found ourselves in when it comes to planning, to try to really like make a shift towards a product that’s super efficient and really quick. And it does all the work for you, just like a lot of software does these days, but it isn’t at the moment for, you know, seeing people and meeting up.

Victor [28:13]: That makes a lot of sense. And in this new venture that your co-founding with your former coworker, essentially an app to make it easy to meet up with your friends, learn new people, get to know them. Looking at the previous businesses, both your own and Cuvva. Did you make any deliberate decisions about how you want to run this business? How you want to start it, any assumptions based on these previous experiences? Like what do we want to do, but what do we definitely not want to do?

Blake [28:49]: One thing, we want to be like very inherently like mission driven. So we ultimately want no one to ever feel alone. And to know that if they use outside, there is a way for them to have like meaningful connection really quick. And for someone that isn’t eventually the end user, like isn’t confident with organizing something or planning something that needs to worry about that, because we’ll make it so easy that they wouldn’t even feel like they’re doing it. And all of a sudden they’re with people.

[29:15] That’s the experience we want to get to. Now to actually where you start, it could be a little bit different. Something that we like really focus on, is like race of like iteration. Like if we can really evolve the product quickly with our users and get feedback from it as we go, it’ll probably help us get to where we want to go more efficiently. So we try to keep it to like two to three releases on the app store a week. We don’t try, try to overinvest in one particular thing because one of us thinks it’s a good idea and that’s it. And if we can, we’ll try to start something simple and then build up from there. But always having like where we think the experience will go over time, but use the learnings we have to sort of evolve and making sure that even from a

starting point, like me as a designer, we’ve got,  if things are nicely set up that I can go into Xcode and make a few little changes and then I can push, commit for us to merge and put into the build. And so that anyone, I think over time that joins has the tools to be creative and have output without something necessarily always being in their way.

[30:21] And I think that’s an issue over time is like, as you get bigger, there’s lots of stuff in the way. And to have output, it gets harder because it gets further away from where you start, where you actually are. So if you can have it where someone as a really easy opportunity to have output, would be great. I think you want to keep the team inherently very small and very close to the problem and the end user and not overextend at all and make sure that we do have an active way to get feedback from people very easily. And we just keep like, even on the app, there’s like a button you can just like leave feedback and we don’t capture like your name or anything like that. You can just write whatever you want. And then we can just sort of read it, during the week and be like, okay, cool.

[31:01] This is a signal for something that we need to improve. And so we don’t ask for much in terms of like, we don’t need to get like personal information to give us that. The main thing is like, we just need to keep up like fast pace iterating and learning and not lose sight to that at all.

Victor [31:18]: So you’re a sort of recipe for success to find product market fit, because I understand that that’s your current stage. You’re so trying to find product market fit. Your fairly early stage is to A, have a very clear mission. That mission statement is really just that. And it doesn’t, like the one that you described, it doesn’t give a certain solution. It’s just like, this is the problem we’re solving, but this very precise problem, but not how. Now how obviously we’ll figure out. So it’s different than this is going to be a photo sharing app that has features X, Y, and Z. And that’s what we’re building various now it is really about solving a specific problem.

[32:02] And the second part is to have a very small team that can work towards that goal without having to jump through hoops, involve other people, coordinate, but just really be close to the mission, be close to feedback and be able to creatively make improvements. I don’t want to say on their own, because obviously I assume you talk a lot, you brainstorm a lot, you work a lot together, but then in implementation that nobody’s held up by someone else. Is that what I’m understanding?

Blake [32:39]: Yeah, exactly. You can, as a designer go in and change the website yourself, is really good tooling these days to allow for that. And just really optimize around freedom to iterate and make changes, improve. Because I think also, we really want outside to, we think it can be helpful, like kind of everywhere and if we can be like the way that is just much easier and faster to friends, to organize things, to get things going, to meet new people. And that’s like the starting point and then eventually connect to the network. Help connect people up to each other.

[33:17] And then it can really be the case where, you can open the app, like tap a button. And there’s just someone interesting around the corner, but it’s very hard to start doing that from the beginning. So at the moment with like local small groups, and then as we sort of get better, then we can tackle the really hard problem. And that’s the sort of direction we’re sort of taking it.

Victor [33:37]: That makes sense. And obviously it’s a challenge. This is an app that doesn’t provide all too much value for the single user, without their friends, at least until you open up like meeting super random people feature for which you also need to have enough people on the platform. So it’s really tough.

Blake [34:02]: Yeah. And I think you sort of, that’s where initially you wanted to take it, was where you could meet up with someone totally new. But initially, I think it’s a bit of a responsibility to make sure that the quality is, you really meet someone that you really can get on with them and have a great time with and just [34:17 inaudible] to users, when we sort of initially think about this. I experience well as the opposite, when you do use these things that connect you up with someone like the experience isn’t good. It’s not great. And we think it’s just the way a lot of people are trying to do that is pretty ambitious. But we’re trying to approach it a

different way.

Victor [34:35]: Nice. I love that. And so what’s up next for you guys? What’s ahead?

Blake [34:40]: So now we’ve got a release going out tomorrow. Interesting enough, we sort of just stagger. We sort of plan out like what things we think make sense when, and when someone gives us feedback, it sort of moves to the top of the list. So we’ve had some feedback come in. So we’re sort of fixing stuff around that. But the main changes, like just lowering or we’ve learned a lot, is the barrier to get started has to be so low and that’s for improving. So it’s like way easier to get started with like seeing who’s on the app and adding people.

[35:07] But then what we’ll be doing is a pretty, I think like really awesome way of like planning ahead and knowing because if you use outside, it’s seems to be the case that you want to also use it for lots of other things in the future. So you have like one side is just really efficient and really like, just way easier to organize something with friends. And then the other side is like being spontaneous and meeting up, very close, like super fast. So we got some more work to do, I think on making the planning. It’s not only planning, but the things in the future a little bit better. And that’s what we’re doing now, whilst making it also much easier people to join.

[35:41] And then I think, the biggest thing, the thing I’m very excited about in the future will be like where the only input on outside will be who do you want to see? And then outside we’ll like figure out where and when, so that way for you, as a person, you don’t even think about that stuff because that’s normally part of where do we go? What time should we meet up? And it’s like a lot of head space. And I think that’s a bit of an accessibility barrier for a bunch of people. Whereas if you just say like, Hey, I just want to meet up with Victor. And it’s like, okay, once a week, it says yes, this is where, go there. It’s easy.

Victor [36:12]: Super cool. That’s really exciting. Where can people learn more about you and outside? Where can they try it out?

Blake [36:20]: So yeah, the website is Outside.so, and then there’s a few links you can tap to download the app, actually putting on a new version of the website this week [36:31 inaudible] today. So, hopefully it will be a bit nicer than it is now. That would be outside.so. And then the same outside in the app store, we should be at the top of your search outside.

Victor [36:41]: Beautiful. Well, thank you so much. It’s been super exciting. Thank you for sharing your journey and your insights. Definitely looking forward to hearing more about outside soon and wish you good luck.

Blake [36:54]: Yeah, appreciate it. Thank you.

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