Ever get bogged down with organizing everything you need to keep your business on track — documents, task lists, goals charts, chat? Zeb did.
So this serial entrepreneur set out to create “one app to replace them all.” Zeb introduces us to ClickUp, the Swiss Army Knife of project management that frees you up to do what you love to do; and tells us about his start as a four-year-old entrepreneur, asking for toys he could sell to others!
Rise Grind Repeat Podcast
powered by EIC Agency
Hosted by Dustin Trout
Produced by Andrei Gardiola
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00:00 So on a zero to 10 how much do you care about work life balance? And if they care a lot then we know that it’s not the right fit.
| Rise Grind Repeat 044 |
00:28 [inaudible] [inaudible]
00:33 welcome back. Thanks for your patience. As we took a much needed break to kind of figure things out to kick off season two we came over to San Diego to talk to Zeb, who’s the founder of click up there making a game changing project management tool and a tool that we love to use within our company. Their whole goal is to make the world a more productive place. Let’s dive right in.
01:00 Appreciate you taking the time. I’ve been extremely excited cause like, uh, like I mentioned, uh, I’ve worked at a few different marketing agencies and have been in the industry for about eight years and the whole project management side of things is just, there’s none of it almost. It seems like there’s a huge need for it and what you’ve been doing and has been been awesome. So before we get into click up, I would just love to learn more about your story. What have you been through? What have you been doing? Um, it looks like you’ve, uh, started or founded a couple of other companies and so I’d love to just kinda get a little background on you.
01:33 Yeah, absolutely. So happy to be here. Um, if we start from the top. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was born, so when I was three or four years old, I was that kid selling things. Um, you know, I was, I wasn’t asking for toys for my birthday, for myself. I was asking for like wholesale toys to sell. Um, so that was always just, just my thing. It was, it was, I wasn’t born with it. I don’t know what it was. Uh, when I was 10, I had my first website. Um, I was selling selling wholesale DVDs on the internet. Um, I ended up one day, uh, my dad called me upstairs when I was 10, and I go upstairs and there’s like two FBI looking guys upstairs and you know, they look, they look at each other, they look at me and they look at each other and they’re just kind of like smile at each other.
02:15 Um, it was a motion picture association also in bootleg DVDs. Uh, so I’ve got, I’ve got kind of a story like that for every year of my life. Uh, but ultimately in, in college I had an entertainment company, um, and we were managing artists and kind of doing their social media and there was a lot of inefficiency in what was, what was going on. So I knew that there was a way to automate this. Um, I went to school for business, um, but I’d always been obsessed with technology, so I just kind of learned how to code and on the side, um, create our own applications for, for automating a lot of the social media, uh, and ultimately dropped out of school right after I did that and built that business up in Charlotte, North Carolina. Um, through that is where I started my dance with project software.
02:59 So it started with base camp and then we ended up with JIRA plus Trello, plus a sauna for a marketing. And then you had to do this for your personal stuff. It confluence for notes. It was just kind of this, this massive, you know, hodgepodge of, of project management applications. Um, and that’s where my frustrations arose really. Um, so ultimately click up started as an internal tool, built it for ourselves just to use, uh, for our own project. I was working on something completely different. I wanted to do a new Craigslist competitor where you could like pay in app and remove the sketchiness from, from Craigslist. But before we did that, we decided to, to finish, click up and we did. And, and it just started growing on its own. So that’s how we’re here today.
03:42 That is sweet. So what was that, I mean, what was the thought process on tired of being in this app? This app, this had this app? Like what, what was the discussion that was had that’s got everything started?
03:53 It was just our own frustrations. Honestly. It really was. It was, it was just, we didn’t know what people were working on cause there’s so many different applications and even one of those applications, he’s never really told you what somebody is working on right now. Uh, you couldn’t figure out what people had done with what work they’ve done for a given period and you surely couldn’t find things or know where to put things. Um, so at the end of the day, it was all about saving people time. It was about saving us time at first. Um, and that kind of vision evolved to, to making people more productive.
04:20 Now what point did it go from, all right, this is helping us out to getting it out to the world. How long until that started just getting outside of your guys’ walls and helping other people and, and, uh, how did that, that whole process start?
04:32 So it evolved in a very short period of time, probably two months. Um, we actually, I had my other company in Charlotte and I had a near death experience actually. And that week that I had that I was like, Holy shit, this is not what I want to do. A, we want to do something much bigger for the world. And this was a very kind of close minded, um, business that I had. And so that next week we moved out to Silicon Valley. It was always my dream to just be in San Francisco, kind of like the or of, of technology and entrepreneurship there. Um, so when we moved there, it was, it was go time and we just did it create a click up as fast as possible so that we could create the next company. We did it in about a month and started sharing it with people in Palo Alto and it just started growing from there. So a probably a month after that, it was growing fast enough where were like, this is a real problem. It’s not our own problem. And that’s where the light bulb went off.
05:21 And how long ago was that? About two years ago. Two years ago. What were some of the first, I guess, big companies to start, uh, using click up and seeing success with it?
05:31 Yeah, I mean we’ve, we’ve got tons of, of logos, honestly. They range from, you know, several people up to several hundred PR person teams. Um, you know, but, but we, when you look at the, the data on our team sizes, we average about eight people per team. Um, so you’ve got, I always say, you know, you’ve got, you’ve got the families that use click up that are using it literally to take out the trash. Um, and then on the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got, you know, like Tesla using up NBC using click up kind of these really larger organizations, um, that are using it for entirely different use cases. But at its core, that’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s, it’s very flexible. So you can use it for something simple and you can also use it for something complex.
06:10 Are you doing more of the personal, it’s funny that you mention that cause it’s a, we used it, I mean we use it, um, for us to project manage, but my wife and I started using it as well personally for just paying bills, taking out trash, stuff like that. Are you trying to get into the personal space? Is there any opportunity there that you see at all or
06:29 we don’t want to focus on the personal space. Our, our focus is on teens. Um, so we had a first version of our product which was much more of a simple focus and that was used more so as a personal task manager. Uh, but there’s a hundred personal task managers and you know, there’s, there’s several that are incredible that would recommend to people if they just want to manage their personal tasks and they don’t work with other people. Um, but click up is really built to work with teams and for your personal life also. So, so you should be able to use it for your personal stuff and also use it for teams. That was just a huge disconnect that I had. I had to use to do this for my personal things and I really had to use everything else for teams because they didn’t, it was, it was not a one size fits all solution.
07:10 You’ve been growing incredibly fast. I mean it’s been a couple of years and it looks like you have a team of over 40. How did that happen? Is that all been word of mouth? I mean, you mentioned you’d run the social media company or what have you guys done to get the word out there and to really grow the brand and, and the value that click up was really bringing to the business community.
07:27 Yeah, it’s been 100% organic. Um, yeah, all in all, all organic. Um, so we started with SEO, you know, it was a big SEO person, the whole organic approach, social media. Um, and, and that is really kind of what allowed us to start that growth path. But, you know, recently it’s been primarily word of mouth and referring people. [inaudible] we benefit because it’s inherently viral. You have to invite people, other people to work on it. So when people leave jobs or move to different positions or locations where there’s crossover with other teams, uh, we benefit from that and it becomes kind of like a viral sharing approach.
08:01 That’s cool. And is it, is the trend just continuing to grow? Um, I mean, you guys don’t work in hard. You guys just launched version two, which awesome job on that. Um, what has been the feedback on, on version two so far?
08:13 Yeah. I mean we’ve, so we launched version two back, that beta was in June. Um, and then kind of slow rolled it out for a couple of months. Um, today 90% of people aren’t on version two. Um, and it’s certainly a different product. And then version one is, it’s, it’s much more of like the vision that I had originally it was, was aggregating all your software together and being able to use it for anything. Um, so that’s, this is what setting us for the foundation of that. So, you know, the vast majority of feedback is, is that exceptional. Um, the stuff that isn’t, is, is what we knew was gonna happen is we’re alienating those single users, that single user use case, a very small one person, two person teams. It’s just, it’s too much for them.
08:51 Gotcha. That makes sense. I mean, what has been the process? Like it seems you guys are coming out with new features, new, you guys are upgrading it every single week, right? Absolutely. How, how, how are you guys doing that? I mean that, that, I mean most people that would hear that as like, wow, that is insane when it comes to software, whatever it may be. But how, how have you been able to execute your team, been able to execute on that?
09:11 Yeah, it’s, it starts with, I guess all the mistakes I made on my previous company, um, which was, you know, we hired 50 plus engineers to try and move faster. Um, more engineers does not mean faster shipping, I mean slower shipping most of the time. Um, so it starts with having, you know, a relatively small but exceptional team, like all 10 X people and then it ends with, you know, these people working very hard also. Um, so you, you benefit from that. That’s, that’s certainly probably the core piece of it. Um, but we also do some things very differently in our development cycles just because of the lessons I’ve learned from, from the past. There’s, everybody preaches, uh, these, these new methodologies for development. And we tried those and it just slows you down a lot. Um, so we’re, we created kind of a new system of, of development where we can really, you know, confidently ship new features every single week. Uh, and that’s what was so appealing to me is, is about being able to do this ourselves is we’re in an industry that was very monolithic and they really didn’t change much at all. You know, they would ship something a year every year basically. Um, they’ve, all of our competitors have, you know, five plus in most respects, like 10 plus years on us. But we’ve really been able to build much more feature set than them and just a couple of years.
10:31 Yeah, no, it’s like I mentioned it’s, I mean he’s, base camp is Monday used to Trello, I mean used quite a bit and that each one of them lacks a good chunk of things that are needed to help get things across the finish line and the things that you guys have been doing, I mean, how quickly you guys are turning things out. It’s truly amazing and, and uh, no, it’s been fun to watch and super helpful. I mean, I appreciate it cause it makes us more, more productive. Um, it’s interesting you mentioned having a bunch of 10 axers. Uh, you’ve started a couple other companies. How, how much culture impacts, uh, an actual business?
11:10 Bhutan? Absolutely a ton. I mean, we’re in a highly competitive industry, so we’ve known that from the beginning. And I didn’t want to get into this industry because of how competitive it is, but we’ve benefited from that kind of forming our culture a little bit because we have to have this urgency to us. We have to have a better work ethic than our competitors in order to beat them. Um, so that certainly has an influenced our culture a lot, just being in this, this kind of rat race of a, of a competitive landscape. You know, fortunately this industry is, is now the largest software market in the world of collaboration space and it’s continuing to grow exponentially. Um, so there’s not one player in our industry that wins. It’s not a winner, takes all type of scenario. So, so we certainly benefit from that. We benefit from the growth that this industry has, but at the same time it’s still very highly competitive. So, so we’re always aware of
11:58 and how do you go about, and I don’t know if culture can be created or if it’s built upon. I guess, I guess what I’m getting at is, is do you go, how, how have you created such a good culture? Is it something that you preach every day on this is what we need to do or is it through the hiring process? Is that the, the types of questions they’re asking? I guess how, how have you gone about creating a culture to where you have a group of 10 extras that are doing it? Cause I mean work ethic is, it’s hard to come by. I mean really good work ethic is hard to find. Um, and how you guys are growing. It seems like you’ve definitely found a little sweet spot there. And how have you been able to approach that?
12:33 It’s a hiring process, thousand percent. The hiring process, I mean, one, one question for the, for the work ethic we ask, people are always very transparent about the amount of work that we have, but we know when to give you an example, one question we ask on our type form before you apply is on a zero to 10, how much do you care about work life balance? Um, and if they care a lot then we know that it’s not the right fit.
12:55 Gotcha. Not that’s, no, that’s not, I like it. Definitely transparent. Um, I mean, do you let them know that or like is that okay?
13:04 Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we’re just always, we always look if, if, if somebody cares about work life balance right now, this isn’t the place for you. It’s, it’s a startup and we’re in a highly competitive industry. So this net six, six months to a year, uh, we all have to be working really hard in order to, to beat out our competitors. Uh, we see the vision of, of KickUp is, is a first like work platform where you really have aggregated all of your work in one place. Um, so I w you know, we want to get to that billion dollar revenue category, uh, where we’ve kind of been synonymous with work, where click up is, is synonymous with work and, and so to do that, um, it’s not going to be forever. But you know, this, this next year is, is very important to us. So we have to work hard.
13:44 No, I, I absolutely love that cause it’s, it’s, I mean it’s tough cause it, I mean we’ve been doing the same, I mean everyone’s 15, 16 hours a day, just the last year, year and a half, just, I mean, everyone has that same vision of where we want to be and they’ll know what it takes. But I love, I appreciate you saying that because so many companies try and dance around that and say, Oh, it’s all about work life. But it’s, it’s, as you mentioned, it’s just not a right fit right now. That might not be forever. But where you guys want to go in the timeframe that you guys want to get there? That’s, that’s so awesome that you’re transparent about that. I, uh, no, I love that game. He gives one to zero talking, talking through that.
14:19 Yeah, it’s very atypical, right? You don’t really hear that around here, but, um, it’s, it’s something where we are in a highly competitive industry and I think at the end of the day, you know, your work does matter. The amount of effort that you put into it, the ethic does matter. Um, I think we hear you’re, you’re, we’re biased too much because we hear about, you know, the monopolies of our industry. You hear, you hear Google and Facebook, they have nothing to worry about, right? They, they’re, they’re a monopoly, so they can preach work life balance all, all day, and they can follow through with that now. But they surely didn’t do that when they were starting out.
14:49 Oh yeah. I mean, there’s plenty stories that, that highlight that, that, that wasn’t the fact. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a grind. If you want to get to that million, hundred million billion dollar revenue line, I mean it’s not just eight hour days and a two hour lunches and, and all that. It is a grind and it takes a special type of person to, uh, and maybe not even a special type person, but people that have the same type of vision and want to get to the same spot. It’s cool that you’ve been able to, to, uh, to get that many people around you to, to help. Is this the largest amount of, uh, employees that you’ve had to manage before or have you had?
15:24 My other company was bigger. I almost thought about a hundred people. Um, but, and, and we have about 50 people now, if you include people remotely. Um, we certainly are growing faster than my other company though. And this is more of a broader depth of scope to everything. Meaning like we have marketing, uh, we just hired sales. Um, we have a engineering team, but we also have a QA team. We have a design team, we’ve got a product team. Um, we’ve got operations team. So this is a more of a broader depth of, of business, whereas my previous company really was engineering and customer service and that was, it.
16:02 Has there been, is there a certain um, employee size that that really starts to bottleneck where you can really feel it, it takes a lot more thinking, a lot more. Um, cause I mean you can be pretty agile one to five, but is there a certain point in which a yeah, go, okay this is going to take a bit more time, need more help? Um,
16:20 yeah. So the, the breaking points in my mind are like five, 10, 25, um, then when you get over 50, it’s also, it’s, it’s, it changes, you know, it’s kind of where you have to really start putting the operational pieces in place and a lot more processes in place. Um, but you know, when you’re a real startup, like five or under people, it’s an entirely different feel. Very informal. When you go from five to 10, you’ve got to start putting some formalities in place. Um, when you go over 10, you have to start having onboarding. Uh, you know, when you go over 25, you really have to have a onboarding process in place and somebody that’s doing one-on-ones, people that are hiring for you know, and having direct reports. Um, so it’s about putting more structure in place as, as you grow up. Uh, we always want to remain like a startup at heart though. You know, we always, we don’t want to, we don’t want a bunch of red tape. Uh, we want to always be able to be very direct with people, but also joke with people, have fun with people. Um, so we don’t want to, we’re not going to be that formal kind of enterprise com.
17:15 Yeah. I mean it’s a, it’s a, it’s a fine balance to, to maneuver, but I mean, if you go back to the hiring process and just find the right people, I think, uh, it’s not, not as difficult to do. Um, but yeah, no, that’s definitely great. Um, loved the core values that you guys have. Um, number one being customer service at heart, not just for this industry, but just trying to give someone the best customer service that they’ve ever experienced. Why, why is customer service so at the heart of a, your core values
17:47 VIN inside of me, since I, since I had started my first businesses, it’s just always about customer service. I, I feel it, feel it. Um, as a customer to other businesses. I mean, at its core, all business has its customer, right? That’s all it has. So why would they not care about them more than anything? Um, so we’ve just, we’ve just kind of strayed away from that. Uh, you have a lot of it’s companies that really don’t have competition. When you remove competition from the equation, you remove the need to care about customers. So like airline industry is a perfect example of this. You know, you’ve got big four airlines that control everything and they don’t have to worry about competition anymore. So you have horrible customer service. Their cable companies have no competition, horrible customer service there. We’re in a competitive market, but we still come to a place where, uh, the standard of customer service was very low in this market.
18:34 So we’ve kind of just, just tried to raise the bar as we go. Uh, we’re not perfect yet because we have been growing really fast and we’re trying to hire as fast as we can. Um, but you know, ideally we’ll be there kind of by the end of the year back to where we want to be from customer service. Another side of that is I did a Disney internship, uh, for six months. And so you, you’ve learned customer service, they’re, you know, they throw you into the fire and you really kind of learn their core values and principles. So I’ve, I’ve taken that with me as well.
19:01 Yeah, no, I, I listened to another podcast that, uh, he, he did an internship at Disney world and basically, yeah, same thing as his business agency is built upon customer service and he’s grown into something pretty large. But uh, yeah. Interesting to hear that. The Disney side of things, um, are, are those your core values or did you guys come up with it as a company or what was that process like to try and figure out what those core values are and how you communicate them?
19:28 Yeah, we came up with them as, as kind of our core team when we were starting, when it was, it was just a few of us. Um, some of them I had on, on my own for my previous company and then other ones we just kind of created as, as a group. We’ve also changed them as we go. Um, so we, we try to align them with one-on-ones. We’re doing it with people. So, you know, if we can, if we have some, some criticism for people, I can say it goes back to this core value. And when we have too much of that disconnect, then it knows we need to change some of our core values.
19:56 And do you see core values evolving as time goes on or are they pretty much set in stone [inaudible]
20:01 I see them as evolving. Um, but you have to stay true to your core principles. Right? So there’s a mix between principles and values. Um, and, and so your principles, you need to stay true to those. I think, um, you know, some companies you see kind of change their, their, their, their public values as they go along. And I think that that’s changing their principals also Google. Um, but you know, at the end of the day, if you still take to your principals, I think you should change your, your values as you grow.
20:26 Definitely. Yeah. Um, kind of switching gears and getting over to the the marketing side, it’s loved the click tips that you guys give on a weekly basis. Um, when, how did that come about? And I asked because I think it’s such, just the education of using platform systems arm or anything like that. They’re, the piece is missing, there’s a ton of opportunity there. And I mean it helps alleviate customer service time and all that type of stuff. Like how did that whole idea come about and how has it evolved?
20:59 Yeah, well that in particular, there’s a lot of things under the hood and click up that you really just don’t know and we can’t show you because it would overwhelm you until you start using the product. Um, so there’s tons of little things that we do that just nobody else does. Like, you know, when you paste a link to fig ma or anywhere else that will unfurl that link, you can assign comments to people. You can minimize your task into a tray so that you don’t have to open a hundred tabs. These things are under the hood features. So for clip tips in general was, was more of like, let’s give a weekly tidbit of like something that people may not know, something that’s not that obvious. Um, but to, to your point, yeah, it’s all about education. Uh, there’s two sides to the market. In our industry.
21:39 There’s, there’s people that know and, or use project management software or there’s people that don’t know it. So the first group is, is you know, they can come to click up and kind of pick it up. But that second group, you know, they need, there’s a bit less much more education involved for people that haven’t used project management software before. Um, so, so we’re not there yet and a way that we want to be, but, but next year our whole initiative in quarter one is, is just the education side of this, making people more productive and the way that we become a thought leader, showing them different strategies to have cause cause we don’t have that in our industry yet. It’s still, there really isn’t. Um, you know, I think base camp had a chance to do that. Um, you know, with the, with the publications and the books that they put out. But it really has been more of like, um, the opposite of, of work when we see work as, it’s more like, Oh let’s not work, you know, let’s do this. But they’re in that mood. Like I said, I read a start up. They surely didn’t start like that.
22:33 Yup. Now definitely. Are you guys using that? I mean get the emails. Are you guys using that for marketing at all? Outside of, uh, just the emails and internal users and stuff like that.
22:42 We saw our marketing automation, we certainly use for internal use case, like based on if is somebody active, did somebody use this feature or not? Let’s tell them about it. If they didn’t. Um, did we have a segment like their buyer persona? Are they, are they this type of category, this type of person? Um, so we use that as much as possible. We don’t do any outbound marketing yet.
23:02 Gotcha. Well, I mean those would be huge. If you guys had like a branded video, someone watched like YouTube ads, basically someone, uh, searching for project management Monday, whatever it is, show them the suede branded video and then retarded them with all the different features and let that really help go. Oh wow. I’ve been wanting that, that and that to sell. And so I think you’re just sitting on a ton of awesome content there that would help user activation and stuff like that. And it was just, it was just interesting cause I mean it helps us quite a bit. I mean there’s so much that, that learning on a weekly basis as you guys send those out, that’s just like, Oh, I didn’t even know that. And then it changes our internal process some. And I love it. Like I said, huge on the education piece. I mean, have you thought about doing something like this with, uh, maybe some of your more active users and getting a podcast and asking them, Hey, what has been the art? What was the onboarding? Like how has this changed your guys’ process? Um, and it might help you guys uncover some things, but has that,
23:54 I haven’t, Oh, that’s a good idea. We do have a huge connection between all of our user base. We have a feedback platform where I read every single comment on there still to this day. Um, so we’re, I’m still very in tune with what people’s opinions are and I, I read every, every piece of feedback that we have. Um, so every feedback that comes in to customer service, it’s either logged in in our feedback platform or it’s sent directly to me or it’s posted to a channel. So, so we certainly know what everybody is saying, but, um, I think bringing like a real life character to this and being able to put it out there for other people, that’s a really good idea. Click tip. Sending an email is to, as a good idea. We did that every week. I think that’s a, that’s a solid idea.
24:34 So how, how was the, the, the Facebook group, um, helped you guys grow and get feedback? I mean, I, I love that because there’s so much knowledge that comes out of there on how, how I’m facing this type of problem. And then essentially other people outside of your company are helping answer questions. I mean, it, it’s very educational in that what are the kids coming up, um, how has that kind of helped alleviate customer service and also just gotten more, um, I guess, engagement within the platform from current users.
25:03 Yeah, it’s been, it’s been phenomenal. Um, Zach on a guy on our team I think started that Facebook group and um, I didn’t realize the power of kind of a crowdsource customer service. It’s, it is, it is phenomenal. We should, we absolutely should advertise the Facebook group more and get more people over to there because it’s, it is still primarily customer service. We have like a thousand tickets every, every day coming in. Um, so it’s a, it’s a, it’s a big load and at the end of the day, um, you know, we still want to be able to handle these customer issues like exceptionally well, phenomenally well our core, our core value. Um, but having a user base that’s, that’s already using the product that can answer those questions immediately for people and give people different opinions about things is even better in my opinion. Um, so we, we should double down on,
25:53 yeah, no, it’s interesting cause I mean even like I said, I’ve, I’ve gotten a lot of education out of there and, and a lot of help on using the platform and how other people are using it. It’s different perspective essentially. And, and it’s got me thinking just, Hey, is there opportunity to create an a client Facebook group? I mean for our clients and stuff like that to where maybe they could help each other answer some stuff and give some insights and some strategy and stuff like that that, that just crowdsourcing ideas and information. I think, uh, it’s been very eye opening being in that group. I’m part of a few different groups, but I mean none of them are as active as, as your guys and it has been super eye opening on just, yeah, the power of it. And not only that, I mean Facebook just, uh, if you post in the group, pretty much everyone in the group can see it.
26:36 Whereas if you post from your company page, it’s like, it’s only like 10% organic reach now or whatever it may be. But just the visibility that your user base has whenever you’re engaging with the group. It’s been eyeopening and it’s been cool to watch. And, uh, I’m sure like you said, it helps, uh, with the tickets and all that and kinda alleviate some of the bandwidth on your customer service side. So it’s, it’s been great. I love it. Um, where are you, is click up your, uh, longterm future. I mean you’ve worked on and built a couple of different companies. Um, are you planning on run with this for awhile or are there other companies that you have, uh, other ideas that you have in the works that, uh,
27:15 I always have, I’m, I have too many ideas. Right. That’s, that’s my distraction is there are too many ideas. I mean, so at the end of the day, the, yeah, this, this is, is my thing, um, for the foreseeable future, um, when I started, I didn’t think that it was going to be, um, I didn’t think that this was kind of that billion dollar revenue category. We really could, you know, change the world, as cliche as it sounds. Um, but when we, after getting into this industry, I know for sure it is, it’s just we’re, we’re growing faster than, than I’ve ever seen any, any company. And they start our stage grow. Um, and it’s, it’s very exciting. We’ve passionate users that they’ll love our product and we love them. Um, so, so yeah, this, this is my thing for now. Um, I am in the process of starting a restaurant, no. Um, a healthy fast food restaurant. I thought, I think that that market just doesn’t really exist that well yet. Yeah. It doesn’t, doesn’t go together, but you know, there’s a technology called air frying where you can air fry food where it’s, it’s, it fries essentially. It tastes like it’s fried food. The con the texture’s the same, but it doesn’t use oil. Um, so I’m looking at, okay,
28:26 does it, ah, it tastes fried and everything. Yeah. The wife has been telling me we need to get one of those and just like, eh, I don’t know. But, and so basically building a business around that. Yep. That’s cool. How, I mean, how do you navigate it? It sounds like, I mean, serial entrepreneur, just tons of tons of ideas. How do you not let noise distract you from what your vision is and what your goal is? I think, uh, I mean as we’ve talked to other startups and just even solo entrepreneurs and stuff like that, distraction I think is the biggest thing that that prevents us some ideas from getting into market and getting out there. How do you, how do you navigate that?
29:03 So until three months ago, um, I was the only product person at our company and I was just a hundred percent focused on product. We, we never tried to grow. We didn’t have sales, didn’t have marketing, we didn’t have any of these functions. It was just supporting the product and creating the product. Um, so I didn’t, we didn’t listen to anybody else really. Right. We didn’t have investors. We don’t have investors. I’m the only the only investor. Um, so we don’t have to listen to other people telling us, Hey, go do this, go do that. Um, and we also, and in some respects, you know, you have a great user base, but there is a lot of noise there. And, and everybody, there’s two types of features that people want. There’s, there’s things that people request that generally exist elsewhere. And then there’s stuff that nobody requests.
29:46 All right? So we’ve always been big on developing the things that people don’t request. Also in addition to what people do request. So it’s about listening to everything. So it is, you still have to listen to the noise and, and then it’s, it’s just aggregating that and saying, is this a big problem for people? Is this an 80% problem or is this a 20% case that we shouldn’t listen to? So I, there’s a lot of T sniff tests that we do. Um, you know, around should we develop a future, should we not develop a future? Um, but at the end of the day, we’re, we’re that company that is primarily saying, yes, let’s keep developing. Let’s keep creating things. Um, because that’s just doesn’t exist in our industry yet. People have traditionally been very opinionated and software saying, you have to use it this way. Um, we’re not going to develop new things. We’re just going to wait till somebody else comes along and then we’ll start developing things. Um, so, so we always want to be kind of ahead of the curve in that respect.
30:36 Yeah. How a, I mean, you’ve mentioned aggregating responses and all that type of stuff. How much has data played a role in the growth of your guys’ company?
30:46 It’s an, it’s been a huge piece. A huge piece. Yeah. Our feedback platform particularly and the way that we do develop features, uh, but also we send out surveys, we send really quick surveys like 32nd surveys, um, yes or no questions that tell us really big picture about what things that we should develop and, and features that we have developed. Um, we also use some, uh, [inaudible] analyzed platforms for looking at which features are used, which features aren’t used, um, and which type of people are using those different features. So it certainly plays a huge role in it. Um, but I would say that like the vision of click up really, it was always there and we always followed that and didn’t listen to the data for that. So you can’t always listen to today though. Like it’s like after you ship something, improve it by listening to data, but it’s hard to listen to data before you ship something because you’re only going to be hearing people’s opinions of like what they want to have or what they’ve heard, what they’ve used to or what they hear and other competitor. So we always try and like take our, our kind of vision for this, put it out there and then see, see what happens.
31:46 No, I love that. I mean, I just love the data part of that. Uh, everything that we try and do is ROI, focus and everything like that. And so data is just, I, yeah, it’s, it has a little place in my heart. Um, so you’ve mentioned you’ve kind of, uh, learn from your past experiences on, on here. What has been one of the biggest hurdles that you’ve PEI, uh, faced? Not, maybe not even just in click up, but just in general, in, in your different businesses. What’s been the biggest hurdle that you’ve had to face and how did you go about, um, jumping over that hurdle?
32:16 Yeah, hiring is always, always a huge one. Um, particularly right now, hiring, hiring is, is our hardest thing we have to do. Um, because we are pretty strict on, on our standards. So, so getting that right has, has been phenomenal change in our business. Like the, the pre hiring phase, the hiring processes. Um, I think that that’s been been a really big, uh, these hurdle for us to get over that we’ve gotten over. I’m moving on. San Diego has, has been an incredible for that. Um, but I mean I look, I would say interested in business in general is, is there’s problems every day, right? Every single day is, nothing is like a real problem anymore. Um, you know, we had the, probably the biggest, uh, customer facing problem we had this week was, was on, on Monday. Um, but it’s, it’s a huge fire that we, that we put out, you know, and, and I think that why I’m just used to problems at this point. So there’s always problems. You just, you just go out there, you learn it, you do it. Um, you don’t have to be perfect. That’s, that’s a big mindset as you should be in is like, don’t be perfect. Right? It’s just like ship something, do something, try something and then fix it later. Iterate on it later.
33:21 No, that’s awesome. So I mean, just from my knowledge, I mean the whole hiring process outside of the, I mean the work life balance question, the asking me and what are some things that you have found that that makes it easier? I mean, we’re getting to that point where we’re gonna need to bring on some more people and um, we’ve kind of faced that where the whole work life balance was greatly desired and that’s not where we’re at and have had to make changes and stuff like that. What are some of the things that you guys have done too? I mean, outside of that one question, find that
33:51 we do, I mean, our process is we have a survey that people fill out, um, which, which really asks more qualitative questions about kind of who you are, how you think. Um, and then we have a phone screen assuming that that goes well. And that phone screen is, is PR again primarily focused around like qualitative things like who that person is? Um, it, it depends on which role we’re hiring for, but you know, if it’s a customer service role, we look, the number one feature we look for is, is happiness optimism? Like is that person happy? Are they optimistic? Um, and that, and that’s proven to be really well in, in, in customer service. Um, you know, in engineering, um, we always give people a mini project and so we can tell from that mini project the quality of code that they’re gonna write. Um, so those little things go a long way, like giving, giving somebody something that they’re really going to do in real life, give that to them before they start the job.
34:40 You know, if you’re working on a landing page or whatever you’re working on, give that to somebody and see, see how they do on it, and you’ll get a better idea of like who that person is. Um, we ultimately also at the end of this, we look for references and our reference checks are a little bit different than other ones. It’s more of, um, you, you rate the person on a scale of one to 10 on, on like six or seven categories of things. And then we, we look at that data. When you get three or four references, you remove the anonymous normally is cause sometimes people will give you ones that are their friends. So it’s easy to remove when you see the anomaly there. Um, and then you aggregate that data and we base, we also do our same, we call them scorecards. Um, we do our scorecard on that person and we compare that to what the references checked with their scorecards. And you know, if it’s below certain thresholds on things, we’ll, we’ll just, we’ll just say no. Um, example that even in customer service, if they’re eight, if it’s below and eight on optimism and happiness and we just, we just say no, no matter how much we like the person, it’s just, we, we’ve learned from data that we have to say. Yeah.
35:40 Yeah. I love that. Oh that, that’s definitely good. Um, definitely helps. I think Ben trying to dance around that whole, trying to create the work life balance and all that, but it’s, it’s, I don’t know, it’s just been, it’s been good to hear that. It’s just, no, if you have a vision, just surround yourself with people that have that same kind of vision. Um, yeah. And that’s the best way to go about it. It’s tough cause I mean, you just hear it all the time, like the need for work, life balance and all that type of stuff. So now it’s been pretty cool. As we kinda kinda wrap up. We’ll love to hear, what are you most excited about? I, I, I can’t wait to see what you guys do on the education side. Can Q1. Um, but what are you most excited about, uh, in the next couple months that you guys are working on?
36:20 Yeah, so what we’re finishing the vision for is, is the platform, and by platform, I mean being able to integrate everything and customize everything. So right now you have something called a task with comments, right? But, but imagine if that task was a person or if it was like a lead or if it was an account or a client. Um, that’s what we’re moving towards is allowing you to use things from more than just tasks. And you will be able to eventually, you know, we, right now you can send a comment internally, but you’ll be able to send an email from click ups so you can send an email to your, to your clients and attach that email directly to that task. And it lives in there and you can reply in real time. Um, we’re working on our integrations right now, so we’ll have about 300 integrations, um, off the shelf and or early next year, Jan, January, February.
37:07 So it integrates with everything, any, every tool that you’re already using. What we’ll we’ll integrate with and we’ll start being that work platform where you can really integrate all of your external data. So now to give you example, if, if you know you’ve got a YouTube channel, you could attach a YouTube video to a task and we’ll tell you how many views that YouTube video has in that task without having to leave there. And then you can set up automation around that. Like when it gets to over 5,000 views, you know, do this, change the status to this and notify that person. So it’s really building this whole platform for all of your work where you can put everything in one place.
37:41 That is awesome. No, I mean we just recently stumbled on the embed view and the doc views and I mean just, yeah, having logins, everything all in one place. It has been a huge game changer. I mean it’s, it’s, it’s exciting. It’s exciting to hear. I can’t wait to see that. Um, so yeah. Is there, is there anything else, uh, that you’d like to add in terms of just click up who you guys are?
38:04 Yeah, I mean, I, I will say that they’ll look, I think at the end of the day, um, there’s, there’s a lot of choices and project management software. Uh, what we’re trying to do is really aggregate your project management software stack and all of your work stack. So there’s so much inefficiency in the way that people work today on the internet, even remotely. Um, you’ve got Slack for chat and you’ve got documentation elsewhere, you’ve got files elsewhere, you’ve got tasks usually in one or several project management applications. You’ve got email separate. Um, you’ve got CRM that separate knowledge base, et cetera. There’s all of these things that are so separate. Um, we say one app to replace them all. We’re not, we’re not literally trying to replace every single application. We’re, we’re trying to be best in class at tasks, docs, goals, and then integrate really well with everything else. Um, so, you know, I would say it, if anybody works for, you know, works with a team of more than three people, you’re probably doing something very inefficiently by keeping everything separate. Um, so, so give us a try.
39:01 Awesome. I love it. So I appreciate the time. Where can people find you find, click up on different social media channels? Um,
39:08 yeah, so we’re, we’re everywhere. Um, on Instagram very heavily and Twitter and Facebook. I’ve joined our Facebook group. That’s the awesome place to get started. Like you were saying, you’ll be able to ask people, hints and, and get some expert advice on there. Uh, we also are here 24, seven for customer service to help that click up.com.
39:27 Cool. Awesome. Well, I appreciate the time. Thank you. Thank you.