The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

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Ep 16: What I've learned building 3 companies feat Andrew Gazdecki

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Ep 16: What I've learned building 3 companies feat Andrew Gazdecki

But what is going on? Everyone? Welcome to another episode of the Revenue Collective podcast. This is your launchhost, Justin Welsh, now a member of the Nashville Chapter of revenue collective. We will be featuring ideas in conversations inspired by ongoing discussion within the globalRC community. In this episode we're featuring a discussion about pure entrepreneurship. Myguest will be three time founder in Currencyeo of micro acquire, Andrew Gaz deck. Before we get into the interview with Andrew, I want to thank oursponsored gone, the number one revenue intelligence platform for remote sales. We arethrilled to announce a strategic partnership in which will we bring you the best events, content, research and spaces to engage with your peers. And to kickit off, they are sponsoring the revenue collective podcast. We will be bringingyou stuff every month, so do not miss out. Stay uptodate on thelatest collaborations at Gong Dot io RC. Also, if you're out there listeningand you want to join revenue collective, either our associates program or executive programvisit Revenue Collectivecom in simply click apply now. Now let's listen to my conversation withthe CEO of micro acquire, Andrew Gas deck our guest today is AndrewGazdecki. Andrew is a three time founder with three egg it's a former croin current founder of micro acquire. He has been featured in the New YorkTimes, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine and Entrepreneur magazine, aswell as prominent industry blogs like Mashable, tech crunch and venture beat. AndreMan, it's really great to talk to you. Welcome and to thanks forhaving me on. I'm excited. I'm excited as well. You and Ihaven't I think we've sort of gone past each other ships in the night onlinea few times, but we haven't had an opportunity to actually sit down andchat. So I've been really excited for this one. Yeah, I'm stokedfor this. Like I said, I've been a fan of what you're doingand yeah, excited just chat and see it goes awesome. So let's start, maybe by taking it back just a bit. So you started your firstcompany, business apps, while you were enrolled in cal State Chico, andI'd love to learn how you decided to get started building at the same timethat you were in school. Can you tell me a little bit about thatdecision? Yeah, that was actually kind of easy. So I've kind ofbeen an not sure of my whole life. I was a kid that had likeebay business. I like sold like pokemon cards. It's kind of embarrassingto admit, but so in Chico I wasn't a technical founder and so Ialways knew I want to start a business and so I had this goal everysummer starting a new company, and obviously I had. There's a graveyard ofbusinesses I've started. But so business apps actually started as an idea from aprevious business. I basically just went online.

I bought a script for I've youheard of like Freelancercom, like upwork? Sure, yeah, I use UPERgoble time. Yeah, so you can buy scripts similar to those businessesand just, you know, put it on a server and niche it toa certain industry. So when the iphone first came out, I launched thiswebsite called phone freelancer, kind of a dumb name, but what I wasdoing was connecting mold developers with businesses. So basically, think Freelancercom, butjust specific to mobile. And then I spent I don't know, like entirewinter break just commenting on like anything related to Iphone APPS. I'm like,Hey, have you got another idea? Like come to this, you knowmarket place, you can find a developer build out your idea. And sothat actually started getting some traction and I guess saw this the same sort ofjob post being posted all the time. It was basically a restaurant, asan example, looking for let's call it like a loyalty program. They wantto show their menu, they want to push on a vacations and I justand they would, you know, have these jobs with developers were they wouldpay like thirty, forty, fiftyzero. And again, this is when theiphone first came out. So every business is trying with your how to geton mobile. So I kind of had this like a light ball moment oflike hey, what if I built like a template where I could reskin this? And that's my business and my goal really was like not get a job, if I'm being completely honest. So it has super humble beginnings but tokind of, you know, fast track a little bit, I ended upselling that business. Found Freelancer for yeah, I won't say the amount, butin college with inflation, it felt like a trillion dollars. It waslike the fourth moment of my life and that was the beginning of business apps. It was basically like, you know, these businesses all have a similar sortof need with features, functionality. The first version was absolutely terrible,but that's how I get started. I just kind of had that entreneurial bugand started with something that, you know, led me to business apps. Soyou have the entrepreneurial bug and so you wanted to start business apps.But was there, you know, something that you were passionate about that businessapps specifically solved? How did you come up with the idea for the theparticular company? Yeah, so both of my parents were small business owners,so I had just a natural passion for helping small businesses and I just sawmobile as this huge trimp transformer made of shift. That's a big word,but whatever you want to call it, paradigm shift of how people, youknow, are interacting with businesses. And if you look at your phone,every company you like or interact with has some sort of way for you toconnect with them on mobile. And so, as that shift was happening, onlylarge businesses could afford to develop,...

...you know, an Ivan App andan android APP. This is even before android and I just thought, youknow, there just has to be a way to make Moll web development cheaperand easier and more accessible to small businesses because, you know, paying forty, fiftyzero dollars for a small business just isn't viable. So, you know, the passion was really just my background and also seeing the opportunity. Justboth my parents were small business owners. You know, massive shift. Everyonewas going to mobile and I you know, again, I started with humble beginnings. I wasn't I didn't start it with like hey, this thing's goingto get funded and it's going to be super huge type of the original ideawas like I'm going to build like twenty mobile apps for like twenty restaurants andcharge them like hundred bucks a month and then I don't have to get ajob and then I'll like figure out the next step after that. So yeah, but I love that. And as you built business APPS, did yourhow big did your team ultimately grow? It was it was a weird ride, man. So I started when I was twenty one. I grew toabout ten million and we curring revenue. The team at its peak was overa hundred. You know, we had you know, portion remotely and thenwe had an inhouse, you know operation sales team, customer success team.Yeah, it was it was interesting and I was twenty three. I waslike see of this like Inc five hundred growing company and yeah, we neverraise any venture capital. It was just one of those moments where I justkind of feel like I caught like, you know, right market, righttime, and it just took off and definitely made a thousand mistakes long theway. Man. Sure. So, yeah, right, that's that's reallycool. I think that's a good segue into my next question. So you'retwenty three, you're a founder. I've got a ten million dollar recurring revenuebusiness. You got nearly a hundred people. You know, I would assume thatmaking some of those first hiring decisions of your career we're probably pretty challenging. It was. was there a particular, you know, skill set that youlooked for when hiring folks into business apps being, you know, twentythree years old? Yeah, I mean I I'll start with my biggest mistake, but hiring was, you know, when you're when you're twenty three,and he grew up without, you know, a lot of money and you interview, let's say, a VP marketing and they're asking verse six figure salary, you kind of roll your eyes are like what the heck, like,why would I pay this person six figures when I could just do it myself? As a huge mistake. You know, teams are built on, you know, hiring people smarter smarter and you as soon as possible, removing yourselffrom that function in the business. So you know, that took me acouple years to kind of figure that out. But you know, I had adifferent, different approach to hiring that I think a lot of people take. And I always looked for motivation, attitude and then skill set, inthat order. And so I really just...

...had like three things that I lookedforward to. Basically, could I see you enjoying this job? Could Isee myself enjoying working with you? And do I think you do a goodjob? Like it was pretty simple. I always looks for a future potentialrather than current potential and people. And so yeah, I guess you know, one thing I'm really proud of with business house was, you know,if you ask the people that worked with me, you know we had areally good time. We had a fun culture and courage and culture. Wehad people that started in customer success that, you know, we're now VP ofsales at other companies. There's three different stars that I hired that areBEP of sales at other companies. One individual start in sales moved over toproduct. So we just had this like really good organization of, you know, career upward mobility and the business, and that was attracted to a lotof people. But again, it felt like, you know, such ateam where everybody just made each other better and we were just high fiving allthe time and there's no egos. So that's what I really look for andhiring and it worked out at the good time with everybody and we obviously hadalish a lot together. So yeah, motivation, attitude, skill set.That's that's what I look for the most. Yeah, I was taught early inmy career by the CEO of the First Technique Tech Company that I wasa part of that intrinsics were like really important and oftentimes, sure there wereroles that required someone with experience, right, very important roles that you wanted someonewho had done it before, but many of the roles in your companycan simply be be filled by people who are curious, excited and ready togo work hard for your mission, and so I've always been a big believerin in attitude and motivation, much like you before skill set. So Ithink people are starting to realize that in a lot of the sales or leadersand entrepreneurs that I talked to are are hiring in that same way. Soit sounds like you just knew that potentially a little bit ahead of time.So so good, good, good for you on business apps and kind ofbrings me to my next question. It was acquired by a pe firm andthen you went on to found alt coin thatt IO in two thousand and eighteen. So you're now into your second business in your being. You're being featuredmagazines and publications. In two thousand and seventeen you were in thirty, underthirty entrepreneur. So it brings me like this two part question. Number One. was there a lot of pressure because of some of those accolades to makethe next thing you build really big? And then question too, was ityour intention to do so? Yeah, that's a really question, you know. So this May seem weird to people listening to this, but when Isold business APPS. That was actually, you know, one of the hardertimes and my career and you know, yes, I, you know,sold it. You know, I had a you know, now come I'm, you know, very, very grateful for but you you go from apoint where you know you're you essentially have a family and people that you reallycare about. I really loved running business...

APPS, but ninety days later,depending on you know, the structure of the deal, when you get acquired, you get to a point where you're just out of the business, likeliterally you are. You know, you go from managing all these people andhaving meetings all day and talking with customers and really loving what you're doing tojust, you know, it's like all right, what do we do now? So I you know, candidly. I rolled into its all coin,I think a little too quickly. If I could go back, I youknow, I wish I'd probably took a little bit of a break and kindof really you know, took in that big win that I had with BusinessApps, and all coin was still, you know, a great venture forme. But you know, you definitely hit on something there where you knowit, you know your CEO, and then you're not and so I think, you know, part of me, I'm a very driven and an ambitiousperson. But yeah, I definitely think, you know, there was some somethought and pressure in there, just like hey, you know, Igot to go do something else, because I think there was a part ofme that wanted to prove that, you know, I could do this morethan once. You know, they say if you do it once, hea lucky, you do a twice, you're good, and so I thinkI had a little bit of chip on my shoulders show like I can buildanother company and then also get it acquired. And Fun fact, to from theday I sold business apps to the day all quite acquired, was thenthree hundred sixty five days. So it's two acquisitions and one year. SoI if I could go back, I would. I would take a breakfor sure and just, you know, kind of really figure out, youknow, just how big of a win that was for me. You know, probably travel the world a little bit, but now I rolled right back kindof another serial role, a you know, new set of problems with, you know, a new talented team. But yeah, that's that was areally good question. Thanks, and I know you mentioned that Alt coinwas was ultimately acquired as well, and you go through that acquisition. Andthen next on sort of your list here is you take the chief Revenue Officerat a company called Spiff, and I was reading a blog post of yoursfrom about a year ago. You say you know, as an entrepreneur I'mobsessed with finding practical solutions to real world problems and first of all I lovethat quote, but it made me want to ask, how did you evaluatethe decision to join a business that was in existence rather than take, youknow, that third swing at founding a one? Yeah, another great question. So this was another thing that I wanted to do, which was havea job and say I did that. No, but seriously so, atbusiness apps. I was a customer of spiffs, one of their main competitors. I won't mention who it is, but just didn't have the best experience, but I deeply understood the problem that they were solving. And, forthose of you listening and aren't familiar with Spif they automate really complex sales commissionsfor really large sales teams. Amazing team,...

...amazing product, amazing founder. Can'tsay enough good things about that company. But you know, again, Iwas originally going to be an advisor and I just kind of looked at, you know, their current sales strategy and there go to market strategy andjust said, Hey, I just looked at my calendar, I have nothingto do. And Fun fact just in this is kind of embarrassing dimension aswell, but I was a top one hundred mad and player during this timebecause I had so much free time, and so I was like I thisisn't good. I need to like get into something and I got really passionateabout the promit spit for solving, because I was on the other end ofthe coin of just, you know, using clunky, outdated solutions and theysaw, like when I first saw the product, I remember it like itwas yesterday. I was like, oh my gosh, you guys, thisis gonna be really big. And then I basically kind of baked Jarren,the CEO, for job and had a pretty good run there. Is wasa ton of fun. Yeah, that's it's neat. Man. I canrecall, like, if I were to rewind my career back eleven years,I was in, you know, the Med device space and it never heardof the texting in two thousand and nine and I got introduced to Zock Docin New York and I had had such a terrible experience just trying to bookdoctor's appointments that like the idea that someone was building a market place that solvethat problem. Like I was obsessed with finding the practical solution to that problem. So that quote really resonated with me and it's really neat to see thatyou were on the other side of the problem at spiff, which allows youto be, you know, really obsessed with their mission as well, andI think that ties back into the way that you hire, right. Iwould assume that you look for people who are obsessed with, you know,the mission or the challenge that you're solving. Is that right? Yeah, absolutely, and I love how you mentioned that too. I mean, whenyou're passionate about, yeah, what you're doing, what you're selling, whatyou're marketing, man, you're going to be so good at it because you'regoing to put in that extra ten percent because you like truly get excited aboutit. And you know, there's a lot of like sports analogies that Iusually pull when I talked about this stuff. Like you see people like Michael Jordanand Tom Brady, who's another one that was just Kobe Bryant, super, super talented, but you know it was their motivation that made them rate. And so, you know, when you find that and people in abusiness, special things happen. And then when you're able to unlock that motivationwithin people and they don't necessarily have it all the time, through the goodtimes and the bad times, that's when you can do some really amazing stuffand that's that's probably my favorite thing about business man's when you find, youknow, ways to make people just passionate about what you're doing and then motivatethem to be better than you know they are when you bring them into thebusiness. So totally agree with that. Just you know, if you getexcited about something, I would recommend taking that job over, say, ajob that pays even all those highs,...

...fifty percent more, because you're goingto protect better, you're going to be happier and you're just going to beexcited about it, and I think that's something that a lot of people kindof you know, I can't speak for everybody, but get behind something thatyou're passionate about and you're going to you're going to go far. So let'sbring that that passion you know, to the present day. So you recentlyfound it in launched micro aquire. So to start, you know, tellus about what micro quire is, and then what was the passion behind buildingthat? Yeah, so I I took a plan out of your book.You know that quote that you said, where is basically like, you know, just do something free for like a year and then monetize it. Yep, yeah, so, okay, so mic requires you're a business model.What I currently spend my day doing is really what I'm passion about. Ilove speaking with entrepreneurs, love helping them just advise on their business. Ilove talking to, you know, other entreneurs on the other side that maybe looking to acquire a company. So, to answer your question now, Ijust spend all day helping startups get acquired completely free, because the otherroutes to getting acquired is number one. You can, you know, hopethat, let's say, Google knocks on your door one day. But youknow, most startups are sold, not bought. There's a common phase andstartup land. You know, most, like the best startups, are boughtand not sold. For my experience, typically startups are sold, not bought, unless you're in the one percent. Your slack growing like crazy or whatever. But you know, there's a lot of entrepreneurs. You build these likereally, really good businesses, you know, doing between let's just call like acouple hundred thousand a month, you know, up to you know,a couple millionaire. Not Growing fast enough for venture capital, probably too smallfor traditional private equity, and so they can work with, you know,a broker that'll take like ten percent or an investment bank, depending on thesize of the business. And so I really just, you know, giventhat I sold to a private equity for myself, I just mapped out allthe private equity firms that are Sass buyers and I just help auntioners, youknow, potentially get acquired. So do it completely free. Have them figuredout the business model to that yet? But yeah, very, very longwinded answer to your question. But yeah, micro require helps startups meat potential buyers. That it's really neat because it feels like from business apps to microacquire it's sort of comes full circle. There's sort of a commonality there whereyou know you're supporting small businesses. Is that sound about right? Yeah,I mean a lot of the founders I talked to, are you know onesthat you've never heard of. Yeah, their boots trapped. They haven't beenfeatured in tech runs. Their profitable. Typically they ran by, let's say, you know just a few. You know, maybe they have more expertiseon the of the building of the product,...

...they're technical, but when it comesto you know, sales, marketing, go to go to arch strategy,that's where it's lacking a little bit. And so, you know, thoseare really good acquisition targets if you have a background in sales or markingor, you know, you're just passionate about maybe owning a hundred percent ofa company. So yeah, definitely. You know, micro Sass is kindof the term at that I specifically use. Yeah, really cool, man.It's a it's a great story and it's one that's obviously not not yetclose to being over. So, you know, we're kind of coming closeto the end of our time. But I have one last question and that'swhen I when I talk to entrepreneurs that have built multiple businesses, and thelast two companies I've worked for have had, you know, multiple business founders,they often have one or two sort of top takeaways after a decade ofjust creating could you sum up in maybe a lesson or two, what you'dlike new entrepreneurs, those who are just getting started to know, Oh man, we're even start number one. Just jump in the pool. You know, so many people want to start businesses today and I think the biggest holeback is just fear, and it's scary for even me, like, youknow, this is my business or something like that, and you know,I think all the time. I have I got to get from A toB or something like that. But you know, that's the funnest part aboutentrepreneurship is, you know, enjoying the journey and not being so focused ongetting to the destination. So, you know, if anyone's listening to thisand I thinking about starting a business, I would just get really clear onyou know, why are you building this business? Because in order to besuccessful as an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate about what you're doing,because you're going to have hard times, you have ups and downs, you'regoing to have, you know, a big customer, go with a competitor, xyze, investor says no, like you got to get really good athearing know, and like when you're passionate about what you're doing that's going topush you through the Times that are difficult. And then the second thing would justbe yeah, just jump in the pool. Like I probably have saidthis you or somewhere on Linkedin, but to me, starting a business istruly the most rewarding thing that, in my opinion, you can do,personally and professional in your career. So you know, I know not hehas his trademarked, but I'd say just do it. It's like my advice. You learned so much about yourself. You're able to have an impact onso many different people and positive ways. I mean, obviously I'm biased,but you know, entrepreneurship is something that, you know, changed my life andI hope to see more in the future. Great Stuff, Andrew.Man, it's been a pleasure having you on the show. Really enjoyed thetalk, hearing your journey, hearing your success stories. What's the best placeto go if you know people want to...

...learn a bit more about you,get in contact with you or maybe learn about micro require? Yeah, youcan add me on Linkedin. Andrew. Guys de key, if you canfigure out how to spell that last name. A guys de ki out twitter,if you can figure out out his fellow last name or, you know, reach out to me on micro require, just micro required pool and it's GaZde C K I if you're looking for gas, De key Andrew.Really great having on the show man. Thanks for being out with me.I appreciate it. Yeah, I appreciate you having be.

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