Andrew: Hey, they’re freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixer G, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses for an audience of entrepreneurs who are building their businesses, like, um, frankly, like today’s guests who are listening, and now they’re here to tell their story.
Um, if you’ve been listening to me for a while, you know that I work with people remotely and that I. Years ago learned that if you’re working with people remotely, it’s better to create guides. And I used to do it in Google Docs, and then I used to do it in Notion, tried all these different tools. The pain of all of those tools is that you have to take screenshots and paste them and then add notes.
And people always tell me, create a video, but I can’t stand sitting and listening to a video. I don’t wanna inflict a video on someone else, or frankly, even on myself, to go back and scrub through and find what I. The key is screenshots. You give someone a set of screenshots, they know exactly what to do.
So now why? Why am I telling you this? Because I’ve said it’s a pain and today’s guests have solved it. You’re about to meet the uh, people behind Kamodo decks. They are known for creating a screencasting tool that. , basically, you know how to use screen casting tools, right? You just hit record, you record your video and or your, your desktop, and you explain what’s going on and it’s beautiful and it works well.
And what they’ll probably want you to know is that it’s really inexpensive. In fact, you can use it for free, for unlimited videos, unlike their competition. That’s charging what, $10 a month per user, 20 bucks, something like that. Um, and so they’re free, free forever, free, unlimited, but to. That’s interesting.
What’s more exciting is I could create these guides where it automatically takes screenshots and explains it and then I could edit it afterwards and I could, you know, have that, well, I invited ’em here to find out about their business. I assumed it was a big business and I got more excited when I realized it’s a smaller company because, um, , I get more fired up listening to people who are bootstrapping, who are starting smaller businesses that are more like the kinds that we, me and my listeners can create.
And so I’m happy to have them on here. Joining me is Hanan Grower, the founder of the company behind Komoto and Harry Brosky. I don’t exactly know what Harry’s title is there, but Harry came over for Scotch Night at my office years ago and he reconnected with me, kept telling me about Kamodo, and so I invited him and Hanan on here and we could talk about how they built their business thanks to two phenomenal sponsors.
The first, if you’re curious about DAOs, decentralized autonomous organizations have a whole podcast about them. Go check it out at join origami.com/podcast. And if you’re hiring a developer, get one from Lemon. Inexpensive, but phenomenal firstname.lastname@example.org slash mixer, G. All right, hold on. Harry. Good to have you here.
Harry, what is your title? What do you do there?
Harry: I am a co-founder of, uh, Kamodo.
beyond that, just really helping with outreach, helping spread the message of Kamodo and uh, just, uh, really just trying to get us out there.
Andrew: Okay. Um, what can you tell me about what the revenue is?
Harry: Is that from you?
Andrew: I’m gonna ask either one of you, but I saw blank stares from both of you, cuz I know you’re not super excited to share all your financials here and I don’t wanna know ’em all, but what can I know? How big is it?
Khanan: Yeah. So first of all, Andrew, thanks for having us here. Very much appreciate that. Fans shall, um, we’re not disclosing revenue cuz we’re a private company. Uh, so it’s still small. Um, but we can talk about sort of the trajectory of the business where we envision it. We don’t wanna
Andrew: can, what Can you gimme a, you gave me the numbers before. What do you feel comfortable saying publicly? Hundreds of thousands. Millions.
Khanan: It’s, it’s in the hundreds of thousands.
Andrew: Okay. And it’s fully bootstrapped.
Khanan: A hundred percent bootstrap. Yes,
Andrew: And how many users do you have a month?
Khanan: it’s, uh, today it’s around 50,000 users a month, um, that are logging in, creating these guides that you alluded to earlier, um, doing the recordings. And lots of folks are using it typically for work to do, like updates for, you know, status updates on their designs or engineering or bug reports and things like that.
Variety of use cases.
Andrew: You were telling me before we got started that the idea came from a product that. Took off, but not big enough for a, for a bootstrap business. What was that idea that led to this one?
Khanan: Yeah, so you goldie’s been trying different ideas, sort of like side projects. They’re just a lot of fun. It’s, it’s probably the most fun in the company, I think is in the very beginning when you get to talk with ideas and see what happens. Um, at around 2015 we created a mobile product called Vs. Um, and there was a video communications app where people sent videos to each other.
It sounds simple to send a video on the mobile phone from one phone to another, but to do it quickly has been really challenging. And we spent about a year and a half just on a technology, on the compression technology, on the upload technology, on the, on the video standards, understanding how they work to make this process fast.
Um, the product itself didn’t take off as a. Um, and we can talk about that, you know, like in lessons we’ve learned, but a lot of the like technical principles that we’ve learned about video, about streaming, uploading, compression have been applied to kimodo. So I don’t think kimodo would not be possible, um, if we didn’t invest that much time into understanding, um, how, how does actually work quickly and like, you know, so how do you optimize that whole process so that, that got us started.
Andrew: I see v’s. Right here. I’m actually in the Google Play Store and I see your photo in one of the product screenshots. It’s basically, uh, a messaging app where instead of chat with text bubbles, it’s chat using video bubbles. And that’s the way people communicate back and forth, record a video of each other, what worked about it and what didn’t work.
Khanan: Yeah, I mean, what worked is when people signed on and invited the, um, other members, so like people onboarded their friends. And if you build that sense of a small group, you know, um, it started, people started using it. The biggest challenge,
Andrew: viral. All messaging apps are viral or failures, right?
Khanan: Correct, but the, the hard, the part we couldn’t figure out that was hard was to get it in terms of growth, to get other people to come in.
So let’s say Harry signs up and Harry has no friends on it. What’s the incentive for Harry to invite other friends to it? And how do you make that happen? Um, and that process was actually quite challenging to figure out. So there’s a lot of marketing, uh, if it needs to be to happen there. A lot of, a lot of like different trial and error.
Um, but I think, I think like the hardest challenge for a tech company today is probably this marketing and distribution, not so much on a tech itself. Um, there’s a lot of smart people who build Tuck who can figure this out. Um, but it’s sort of like these new marketing channels and it’s, it’s, I’d say it’s a lot harder today because when we started, There’s way too many messaging apps.
I mean, in hindsight, they’re sort of naive to build a messaging product when you’re competing with giant companies. Um, but, but I think the challenge now for anybody who would build a messaging product would be a marketing, uh, problem.
Andrew: Yeah. There. Area there where messaging was like a desperate need. If somebody had text messaging on their phone and they were being charged by the phone company, yeah, there’s a desperate need there. If somebody had text messaging and suddenly their boss and coworkers were texting them, there’s a need for a business text, uh, texting and chatting app.
But I could see how that issue started being addressed and the market started to be saturated. How did you then go from there to Komodo? What was the need that you saw that led you to create this new business?
Khanan: Yeah. So we took a pause after these maybe a year or so. Didn’t do anything. Just continued to work. I, my day job, um, And then around 2018 we had a conversation at a bar with an executive, a client of ours, and we discussed all these, you know, we work in that tech. I have a company that works in that tech.
So we see a lot of learning products and, uh, a lot of these products have needed a computer to run. Like, let’s say if I wanted to record my PowerPoint, Or a PDF file typically would happen on, on the computer. Um, and professors do that a lot. So faculty, when they record lectures, they record themselves talking to a PowerPoint that’s sort of like everywhere.
So we decided, hey, we can do a mobile product of this where you can ingest the PowerPoint or any PDF file record. You’ll have a camera bubble, you can let your easy edit it, and you can publish your video and. It was kind of just lingering there in the store. Nothing really was going on. And then like when Covid arrived, I remember this around like 2020, holy crap.
You know, it was like everybody was told you can’t leave the house, you have to be at home. And all, all the schools sent their students home. And all of a sudden we started to see these spikes of like usage and like, we’re like, what is going on? And we
Andrew: On a tool that you just created, a tool that you just created and left in the app.
Khanan: Yeah, I mean, we were innovating and trying to come up with ideas, but nothing really was like getting traction, you know? It was just like lingering.
Andrew: Before we go into what happened next and how you understood your users, why did you create it? There was loom, there were other tools that did it. Not as many as there are today, but why did you even need another tool? What were you doing differently?
Khanan: Yeah. So to answer this question, we gotta go a little deeper. Um, on, on the, on the mobile phone or on an iPad, it’s actually really difficult to record a PowerPoint presentation that you’re annotating with the pencil, let’s say in the Apple iPad, or edit. Like let’s say if your presentation is 20 pages.
And you record one long video, which is what’s possible on mobile. If you make a mistake anywhere, you gotta go back and redo the thing or edit it somewhere else. We made an experience for every slide is like a video itself, so if you didn’t like one slide, you would just rerecord that slide and leave everything else intact.
For a faculty member who records an hour lecture as a common sort of like daily thing, It’s hugely powerful and valuable. Um, and, and like they, they called us and they said, Hey, we love it. You know, can we get this from the school? Can we get this at the university? Principal started using it. They started using it for all kinds of things we didn’t even envision.
Um, it was even used by the church. So the, the priest was given a sermon using Kimodo to record
Khanan: use PowerPoint in church. I never knew that.
Harry: And, and, and, and, and Hanad. And one thing you, uh, you mentioned a lot about is we didn’t know what existed in the marketplace. We weren’t even looking what else was in the marketplace. We just knew what was needed and.
Khanan: Well, we’re kinda naive in that sense. We, we like to build products and we sort of build them for ourselves. Probably not the best strategy, by the way, if you’re trying to build a business. But we’re having fun, you know? Um, and so like we built this mobile thing and like, it seemed to be like really take off, you know, in around 2020.
We’re like, you just went straight up. Um, and then we learned like we have thousands of faculty that have been using. And then you learn the next problem. And the next problem is trying to sell to faculty is really d. . Um, so when they say faculty we’re, we’re talking all the way from kindergarten to high school to grad to post grad to like, right.
So all different spectrums, they all use video videos everywhere, and it’s international from day one. Any language, uh, we found that to like, typically faculty don’t earn well, or like, you know, it depends of course, who you talk to, but like relatively, On the income level, it was like very tough to make a sale.
So we thought, you know what, instead of selling it to education, why don’t we pivot this to companies and, and make a business product, something we can sell to businesses? And that’s when Kimodo was born, that that’s when we first created a, an extension tool. Then we discovered there’s competition as well.
We started getting into that direction. Um, but we sort of pivoted. And what we did with education was we let them use it. And so cuz we decided that during covid times when they’re using this for math class, And like in different countries explaining like concepts, mathematical concepts of its philosophy.
It was in biology. In biology, it was used a lot actually to talk about the vaccine. Like so many different cases, stuff I know not much about. We decided that. First of all, they understood by education was discounted by, by companies discount products to education. That became clear, um, and we decided to let them use it and we, we didn’t wanna charge them.
So we pivoted the business, we turned it into something we could work with companies. Um, and that’s what happened after that whole experience.
Andrew: I am so surprised that teachers wouldn’t, I mean, we’re looking at $3 or $5 a month. I’m surprised that they wouldn’t even take that out, but I guess it doesn’t really increase their revenues. They don’t have a culture of just spend money on SAS the way that we do, and it’s a different world.
Khanan: back then we used to do
Harry: of getting anything.
Andrew: Right. I, I just, in my
Khanan: I mean, look, you can sell to education.
Andrew: I would just pay for it. But it’s a, it is a different world.
Khanan: Yeah, you have to work with committees. If you ever sell to education, you have, you have to work with, like the board of Education, for example, takes a very long time. Um, or at the university level, there’s committees. Um, it, it’s a high touch sales process, very expensive sales process.
Andrew: Okay. And so you decided we’re gonna start to pivot to businesses. Were businesses using the tool at.
Khanan: So, yes. So we’ve seen po you know, we talk to users. One of the things I do is, is like I handle all the customer support. For example, Harry helps out, but like, I’m the guy, they, they reach when they have a question. And this is strategic advantage because then you sort of have the pulse of your customer, right?
And if you answer their question, you can also say, what are you using this for? And so we’ve had a bunch of companies use it. And so they would do, they would do. Annual calls or or quarterly company reviews where an executive would take Kamado, take a deck. Like let’s say there was one tractor company I remember.
Let’s summarize how many tractors they sold in the quarter to farmers. And, um, they would take Komoto and record an entire deck of what they did to sell these tractors, what the business distribution was, which channels are working, which channels are not working, and they send it to the whole company. Um, and so you, we found little pockets of it, but we also found that companies don’t really use mobile products.
So if you talk to anyone who, who works. Most of them are on computers, you know, which was quite common sense. But we figured out very quickly that to make a business, to be successful at this, we need to port this to a web technology or some, or some desktop technology to enable them. So they don’t do, they don’t take out a phone. Yeah.
Andrew: Were were teachers doing that? Teachers were using iPhones, iPads to teach.
Khanan: So for teachers, very different. So teachers, what they’re, what they’re doing is, let’s say an iPad, they import a PowerPoint, they record a lecture, then they upload it, and then they use Google Classroom or some other LMS to expose with their students, or canvas, you know, whatever it is. So the process wasn’t that intricate.
In businesses, it’s not so much you’re recording a duck. A lot of the times you need to record a. Or you’re recording some feedback, for example, like let’s say UX feedback on some product that’s not a PowerPoint. You need to be interacting, you need to work, you need to log in. You know, there’s all this other stuff that has to happen that’s missing on the mobile phone.
Um, and so we found very quickly that like for us to enter into conversations with companies, that was a big ask is we need something to be able to work on our existing environment.
Andrew: And so how would they tell you that they were doing this? Were they, why would they even bother using you if that’s what they were trying to do?
Khanan: Are you talking about the businesses?
Andrew: Yeah. Like how if, if I found a tool in the app store that worked for worked, but not for me, I wouldn’t necessarily contact the maker and say, I wish you had a desktop app. Or actually, you know, maybe I would. Maybe I would say, this is really useful. I could use it on a desktop. Do you have that instead?
Khanan: What’s funny actually is like, it’s like you say they, they download it, they play with it, and then let’s they record, let’s say a quarterly demo to the company, and next question is, how can I do more with this? And so like, they had a good experience with it, right? They had a good experience with doing this demo, with this recording.
And then that’s an incentive to reach out and say, Hey, like, I wanna do this every week. I wanna have quarterly updates where like, instead of us all getting in the room every week, let’s say weekly updates, I can, I can record a 30 minute update for the company and then do a 10 minute q and a instead of wasting 30 minutes on Zoom.
Going through one to many conversation. So, so people are, if, if people like something, they do reach out. And also if they don’t like it, they do the same thing. If something disappoints them, they’ll reach out and yell at us as well. . So that works both ways.
Andrew: Okay, and so you said, all right, we’ve gotta start making this into a desktop app. It’s not profitable at this stage, but still you’re starting to see some momentum and you think, all right, if we invest a little bit, give them what they’re looking for. This could be a profitable business.
Khanan: Yeah, so to talk about profitability, it’s also important to understand the expense side of the equation. So we did not raise money, um, right. We don’t have a, a huge staff, so, so we run a company that’s very lean in terms of, You know, the big expenses for us is sort of like the, uh, payroll and the infrastructure.
Um, marketing we’re getting into a little bit. Um, so from the hosting perspective, just to run Kimodo, if you remove us, let’s say Harry and I go away, Kimodo will still run, right? It still runs in the cloud. Self-sufficient. A lot of cool tech in there. We’re already breaking even on that in terms of monthly revenue.
So, so in terms of like all the users that we love, right? That support us that are paying for Kimon, Is covering the entire infrastructure capacity to run this tool. And on our platform, I bought a hundred to 200 hours of videos created every day to give you a sense of scale. Right. So it’s creating massive amounts of video content.
There’s bandwidth costs in there, there’s hosting costs in there. Um, so from an infrastructure standpoint, we’re already good. Now we’re looking at taking the company to the level of covering all the developers, right? Covering everybody who works in the business and doing it sort of organically versus a traditional venture around, right?
And raising funding. So we, we found, just on that note, what’s interesting is if we raise money, we’re gonna be good at spending. Um, if you don’t raise money, you have to be making money, and I much rather focus on making it.
Andrew: I get that. All right. Actually, lemme take a moment and talk about my first sponsor and then we’ll come back and talk about how the two of you met because it was at a failed, uh, startup, at least according to your LinkedIn profile. Um, but first, My sponsors Origami, which creates dowels. It’s from the makers of Orange DAO.
Do you two know much about Dows decentralized autonomous organizations? You do. What do you think about them?
Khanan: I love it. I think, oh, oh, go ahead.
Andrew: Hanan loves them. Harry,
Harry: I, yeah. No, I, I love them too. And I think, um, we’re just seeing the beginning of what is possible with dos.
Andrew: I agree you. You know what? I first heard about Orange DAO from Beha, one of my past interviewees. He said, look, all of us, Y Combinator founders got together, people who were backed by Y Combinator, we created this alumni group. And then the alumni group formed a DAO and then the DAO started making investments.
Then we raised, I don’t know what, 70 plus million, uh, to make investments together. And I, I told a friend of mine, Anthony Martin, Who’s also Y Combinator founder, why don’t you join? And he goes, I don’t know. To be in there feels like we have to all come to consensus before we do anything thinks. He says, I’m not a consensus guy.
So I said, Anthony, can you just go join and let me sit in your in your house and watch what happens in the discord and like how the conversations work. And so he goes, He went into the town hall, he let me watch. Um, and I started to see something through that and through talking to others who are in the group.
It’s not everybody come to consensus. It’s more like one person has an idea and goes, I think this is a great idea. Can I get enough of you to say, this is okay, so that, and gimme a little bit of money to go pursue the idea. There’s a vote on that for sure, but then the person has the money and he gets to go off and, and run with this idea.
Like one, one idea that uh, got funding was a fellowship. A guy says, give me some money. I’ll invest in entrepreneurs. If they start businesses that we wanna invest in, we could then fund them and they have to let us fund them, if not fine. So he got funding for that. Another entrepreneur who I talked to, uh, last week, Ishan, he said, Hey, I think we should create a really good podcast here.
Give me a little bit of money. Here’s what I will do with the money. I’ll buy Mike’s and I’ll do this and I’ll do that. We’ll head an editor and then we’ll publish a podcast for our community. And so he got the money, and now they’re not gonna sit over his shoulder and, you know, take a vote on every single thing he does.
He’s got the money, he’s got the power to go and create a podcast. And so he reached out to me, he said, Andrew, tell me how I could make this into a really good podcast. That’s the idea behind a DAO, you get a collection of people. Yes, there’s some voting and yes, it’s powerful. What, what gets you excited about Ahan?
Seems like you’ve got some experience
Khanan: Um, I’ve been following this for a while and so just, you know, I’ve been bullish on crypto since the beginning, so I still remember the 2018, like the financial crisis, 2008, 2009, and Bitcoin was born and I was trying to buy it, but it was so difficult and it’s one of the most exciting things I think happening in, in our industry is what’s happening with crypto and open, like the AI stuff that’s happening now.
One’s kind of taken that wave. Both of these things, I don’t think people realize, like it hasn’t even started in my. because we haven’t really seen Bitcoin and sort of other like tokens out there really start to transform the economy. It hasn’t even started and like it’s already at these prices now just just in the price asset alone and the pro, the projects that are here, like you’re talking about DAOs, I’ve seen, there’s so many of them, right, that I’m like, that are around the Twitter and the communities and like we don’t know how it’s all gonna go.
But as an organ, like this is a new organizational. And like we haven’t had that forever.
Andrew: I, I don’t know where it’s gonna go. And we, and we clearly have some who are knuckleheads and we have some who are well-intentioned people who’ve created these DAOs. But it’s a community and it’s really hard to keep it going. And the community’s kind of junky. But we also have some that are absolute successes and I want to study them.
And so I created a podcast with origami. Origami is, By the people who created Orange DAO. They created a bunch of other Doos. And so we now have a podcast where I interview their successful Doos, but also others to understand what’s working in this space and what is not. And um, and that’s what, that’s what this Origami podcast is.
If you’re interested, go to join origami.com/podcast. Harry, what was the business that the two of you joined in on where you
Harry: Sure, sure. So, um, Hanan started a, uh, business way back when called, uh, Investo, and I think we met at a friend’s. Fashion event. And I always had an interest in entrepreneurship, and I, um, I was introduced to Hanan and um, Hanan told me that he was, uh, trying a few things and really trying to, uh, get into the, uh, entrepreneurship game.
And I just told Hanan, I said, listen, I don’t know what kind of value I can provide to you. I don’t know how I can help you. But I want to help you. And I remember there was a little reluctance at the beginning while, who are you? How are you gonna help? And I just said, I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.
And we just kept in contact, um, from that day on. And, you know, as time went on, you know, there was some ideas to start to get, uh, uh, crystallized in terms of how I can help. And one of the, uh, ways that we identified how I can help is to really spread. The message of whatever Anan and his team are building, um, and try to make it into business.
And you know, it’s funny, I come from a technical background, not a sales
Andrew: I was gonna say your whole LinkedIn profile is about tech, not,
Harry: So actually, so I get confused with another Harry broski that’s not my LinkedIn profile, just full disclosure.
Andrew: Oh, so there’s where my confusion
Harry: Yeah. Yeah. That’s not, that’s not me. But I do have a, but I do come from tech. Um, and, uh, really from the project management, um, business analysis side, you know, work with developers, no sales experience whatsoever.
But for some reason, I think maybe it’s just something that’s ingrained in me is that I don’t know my limits. And what that means is that I’ll reach out to anyone and no one. No one to me is, uh, too high above, uh, me reaching out to, to try to have a conversation with, and, you know, I’ll just, you know, I see a wall in front of me and I’ll just try to smash through it from a, you know, I don’t know if that’s, uh, acid liability, both.
I don’t know. But, um, it’s been helpful in the past and just trying
Andrew: What’s an example of that? How have you been working with Kamodo to promote it? To open up doors that otherwise wouldn’t be open?
Harry: You know what, that’s a great question and. I’ll, I’ll email anybody. I’ll, you know, I, I’ll
Khanan: Oh wait. First say, if it wasn’t for Harry, we would not be on ab. Cause he found the thing. I didn’t even know what that was.
Andrew: So that was your first big marketing success. You’ve tried a bunch of other things. They didn’t work. AppSumo worked. Yeah. How did you open up the door to AppSumo?
Harry: So that’s funny and that was kind of unintentional. So, um, AppSumo uh, forgo is, uh, run by a great guy named Noah Kagan. And Noah releases a lot of great content on YouTube. Um, and I just reached out to him, cold email, said, I love your content. Uh, you know, as an entrepreneur it’s really been helpful. . And then he asked me a little bit more about the company and I said, well, here’s what we do.
And then he said, you know, this would be great to have featured on AppSumo. I said, all right, great. How do we make it happen? And, you know, took it from there. But yeah, just honestly that was, that was an outreach that I didn’t even think about, you know, doing that from a business perspective was just, Hey, I love your content.
And he was nice enough to reach out back to me and we got it rolling from there,
Andrew: That’s something I need to keep doing more and more of. Sometimes it feels like it’s a big waste because you don’t get a response. Um, or you get a bunch of responses that have nothing to do with any goal, but it’s worth it. Over time, you end up building these relationships.
Khanan: look at this interview. If it wasn’t for Harry, I don’t know if he would connect also, cuz he re, he took the initiative to reach out to you. And there’s, there’s thousands of examples like that. Here he is a
Andrew: You know what I used to, we were talking about how we did Scotch Night at my office. What do you remember about that? I missed those Scotch nights.
Harry: So I remember, you know what’s funny? I remember how refreshing it was to be in a room and just have. People in the room not have any guards up. I, I remember we were, we’re just talking about kind of the, uh, battle wounds of entrepreneurship and really being vulnerable and just really being honest with one another.
I remember that very well and I said to myself, wow, I wish I had more of these types of, uh, interactions where just people are no guards up. Very vulnerable, very forthcoming with information. I remember that very vivid.
Andrew: I remember doing that and it was something that if people were in town for a conference, they would come over for that. They would, I would make sure that we’d have somebody there at least once a week for a scotch, and since I moved out of that office and here to Austin, I don’t know how to recreate that.
I’d love to have people over to the house, but. I don’t know if it’s the same experience. You know, the thing about San Francisco was it’s all so tight. You’re, it’s even smaller and tighter than New York City. If you’re there, you’re basically at my office. So you might as well pop up for a drink. You, you know, you can go to dinner before or after.
It was, it was such a good setup and I missed, I missed the hell outta that.
Harry: Um, I, in my opinion, you know, it’s more about the people than the, uh, logistics, but, uh, I’m sure if you tried to do it again, you could have it happen, but, uh, yeah, it is true. I actually lived in San Francisco for about three years. I moved out. They’re from New York. Um, it’s true. Everything is pretty compact over there, but, uh, you, you put good people and good conversations and I think logistically, you know, it’ll work out.
Andrew: have been doing it occasionally here by, by a fire here in Austin, Texas. And if it’s a nice night out and you’ve got a fire, it’s way better than sitting in an office with some scotch, but it’s hard to pull that off on a regular basis. Okay, so that’s what you’re doing, constantly reaching out to people and not necessarily like promoting an idea and not necessarily.
Some kind of marketing angle, but that’s, that’s what often happens as a result of it
Harry: Yeah. And, and also, and also some of my other ancillary responsibilities in addition to, uh, helping Hanan with the customer support, which Hanan is really driving that. Uh, just doing market research, really kind of playing an analytical role as well. So seeing Okay, um, what’s out there in terms of feature sets of other, uh, market participants, seeing where there’s a gap.
So kind of the analytics piece as well. So the sales, the analytics, and then just some customer.
Andrew: Yeah, it looks like you guys are all very proud of customer support. I think when we talked before the interview started and I said, show me your features. Let me see what I might have missed as a user, as someone looking at other people using it on, on YouTube, and Hannah goes, oh, we constantly take feedback from our users.
That’s all we’re about. And I go, I ask you to see the features, not to hear how it’s how it’s done, but I could see the pride that he had, so I let him keep going with it. All right. Come back then to marketing now. You’ve, you’ve got kamodo up, you’ve decided to go business angle. How much time did it take you to get to say, we’re ready, let’s start selling this to businesses?
Khanan: Yeah, I mean, we are moving quickly and we’re at the point where the company is expanding, so we’re
Andrew: Well, let’s go, uh, again, to the past before AppSumo, and I’m curious about how well that worked before AppSumo, you tried a few different marketing, uh, ideas. What, what worked, what failed? What’d you.
Khanan: Yeah. So, you know, Harry reached out to a bunch of c. Of, of different sizes and Harry’s really good at getting interest. And so, uh, typically Harry would reach out. I’m gonna share a little bit of your strategy to the CEO with like, uh, just, you know, and I’m sure these people get emails, the hundreds of them per day, but he’s able to just get in there and get a response and I don’t know how that’s his magic dollar.
You know, he’s able to get a response and the next thing we know is that sets up a meeting and we start talking to companies. Um, What we’ve learned is working with companies, it takes a long time, and also it depends on the scale of the company. So if we’re talking to companies that are, let’s say, almost going public, very late stage venture funded.
Um, it becomes much more complex. So what we’ve learned is we’re missing a lot. We’re missing a lot of the core features that they need. Uh, for example, very specific security control, um, auditing, um, compliance, right? Like, these are all things that are very important to bigger companies. Um, when you started learning that, um, and so like we, we had a lot of these conversations.
Um, and then the market starting this year also started to taken ahead and in the beginning of the year, I’d say probably since last year, right? Since like we started to get into where we are now, we found that a lot of companies have actually stopped funding or stopped acquiring the software. The market sort of turned a little bit.
That’s what we’ve learned. Um, but from there, like we know what, we know the, the approach and the marketing approach we’re gonna. So based on that experience with Harry and these conversations, there was many of them. We know that the companies who want to target are between 10 to 50 employees after we become successful at that, we’re gonna go 50 to two 50, let’s say, after we’re successful at that go upstream, two 50 and above, and every single
Andrew: So this is enterprise sales. It. It’s enterprise sales. It’s not about how do we get more people to use our free trial and then have solopreneurs use us and then share it with their uh, uh, virtual assistants who will then tell their other clients to use them. That’s not it. It’s more like Harry’s doing enterprise sales as a way of learning what enterprise wants and a way of selling.
Khanan: Correct. But then we made a discovery. We made a discovery because Asum was like another thing that out of many, um, that resulted in a crazy amount of traffic. Right click. Crazy amount of support calls. And we sold, I could say this publicly cuz there, there’s a blog post about this. It’s gonna come soon.
We sold about 5,000 seats, uh, through the AppSu campaign, which is a lot. Um, and honestly, you weren’t even ready to do all the, all the support that you need when you have so many people on mean, I was getting, my phone was blown off 24 hours a day. People couldn’t log in like basic questions, right? But like, they needed some guidance.
But we’ve learned there, there’s another marketing approach here, which is like what you just alluded to, solopreneurs, designers, small companies. All of a sudden they started buying 30, 50 seats in tier, and they started onboarding, like the SMO campaign had became structured as you could buy, you know, one seat, you could do five seats, you could do, I think it was like, I don’t remember, 15 seats and I was 50 the amount of those, and we sold a bunch of 50 seats.
And so we learned that they onboarded the entire company. And the, I’ve never seen that before. So like, it’s basically like an owner of a business. It could be like an agency of some sort, acquires a license and then onboards their staff, including some of their customers, and the only, all these people are working together.
Um, and so like from that experience we figured out that like there, there’s a way to actually get marketing from targeting some of the solopreneurs and some of the smaller, smaller companies. So they onboard and invite others to. Um, your camera disappeared, Andrew, by the way,
Andrew: Uh, it, it might just be we use the Riverside and Riverside might just be thinking that it’s too much bandwidth for us, but it’s still recording it. Um, I. I wouldn’t have thought that AppSumo would, would have such big clients, but they’re phenomenal. I thought all they would have is, in my mind, a solo entrepreneur is a one person operation, only one person in the company.
Virtual assistants and contractors. Yes, but they’re just them. You’re saying AppSumo started bringing in bigger businesses who would then buy it and give it away as gifts, and I’m imagining part of it is that they do lifetime sales. Which you and yeah, other SaaS companies don’t, and was it profitable?
Was it worthwhile for you financially to have been in this deal if you get just one sale and that’s it.
Khanan: So here’s what I’ll say. That’s a great question. For a company that’s trying to get early feedback and trying to get early usage, big advantage even if you lose money. And so for us, you know, we, we made money on this deal for sure, because our expenses are low. Um, but as a long term sort of like approach to running a business, I wouldn’t recommend doing that.
So, you know, if you ever, if you ever do a, if another entrepreneur listen to this, I would do like one or maybe two lifetime sort of campaigns. But after that, um, you’ll find that monthly expenses will not work when you’re selling somebody a product for a lifetime. Especially if you got hosting expenses, marketing expenses, staff expenses and so on.
So, but for us, it brought in an avalanche of feedback from different folks and, and also these folks have told us about other products they didn’t even know about. They said, this does this and this does that. Maybe you could learn from this over here. Maybe you could take this feature there. And all of a sudden I realized very quickly that I don’t know that much , that like we were just starting to scratch the surface in terms of what’s possible and what’s been done and what the most important thing AB Sumo taught us is that there are still many problems in the space that are not solved.
Um, there’s still, there’s still a lot of them. Yeah.
Harry: And I, I just want to add, you know, AB has been a great partner and, you know, it really gave us a lot of exposure to get that really useful feedback for us to build out our, uh, our product roadmap. Uh, you know, abso is, um, you know, they’re great. Uh, it’s, it’s a form of marketing essentially because, you know, they, they do the lifetime deals.
Uh, but they’ve been great in just really getting us exposure and more importantly, getting us feedback to build out our product roadmap, which has
Andrew: You know
Harry: absolutely invaluable.
Andrew: And I, and I’ve heard there are people say in the past, look, you’re gonna make some money now. It’s not gonna be a ton of money, but you’ll get users and you’ll also get a lot of customers after the deal. And sure enough, that does happen. Like when I went and looked you up, it wasn’t just the app Sumo video that I.
Saw it was other people who I guess were affiliates of AppSumo who are creating videos about AppSumo deals and explaining the software as a way of sending people to AppSumo who will then buy and then they’ll get a commission on the deal. So it does feed into more customers than, uh, than. You directly get, all right, second sponsor, lemon io.
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It’s andrew mixergy.com. Andrew mixergy.com. Alright, so first year, did you, I, I’m guess I’m trying to get a sense of the trajectory. How, how much growth were you getting from all these sales?
Khanan: Well, so the SMO campaign zoned in, but usages remain sort of consistent and still, and still growing,
Andrew: You mean your growth conci? It’s not like you got a big jump and then sales went down afterwards. Yep.
Khanan: right? So there’s still people finding it, like through the video, maybe you saw maybe some other affiliate videos. It taught us that we also need an affiliate marketing ca like strategy, and we need to build an affiliate network because a bunch of people reached out to us and said, how can we do the selling? Right. Like, how can we go out there and, and blog about you and talk about you make videos? I’m like, oh my God, we have to do this and, and like as engineers, you don’t like, I never, I don’t think about this stuff cause I’m not a, I’m not a marketing person. And if you ask me, like if you, if you put 10 marketing like CMOs in front of me, I won’t be able to tell you which one is the.
If you put to developers in front of me, I could do that. You know, I can give ’em some exercise and see who’s more creative. So this is like a, like an area that you have to learn very quickly. But there, there’s one sort of key insight that we learn from all of this, um, that, that Kato offers that I, that no one in the industry offers.
Um, and, and so like what we’ve learned now is that the next growth path Path is there’s a lot of different competitors out there in terms of screen casting, right? That you could use many different tools. The business model for these tools is you, you typically get some videos for free, maybe 10, 10 or so, and you have five minute caps.
After that, you have to subscribe to pay for the service, and we wanna challenge that model and challenge the industry and pass the consumer savings where we’re offering unlimited recording for free. And you might ask, how is it possible, right? How do you know, get out, go outta business? And the answer to that, There has been significant changes in terms of bandwidth and storage costs over time.
They’ve been trending down even as inflation has been going up. So if, if you look at, if you adjusted for inflation, the storage costs went up just a little bit because you know inflation was there. But if you look over a 10 year or 20 year even span of time, you’re gonna see a declining chart. , this happens with cloud computing.
This happens with compute power. This is happening right now with ai in terms of GPUs, you could buy in the cloud, you could buy more GPUs cheaper. And so the infrastructure costs have been really going down and like I think the industry should be challenged with how they operate now in terms of like pricing.
Um, and we kind of wanna challenge that and offer basically anyone the ability to record as much as they want with no cap. And how the business will work. How do we make money is all we have to do on our side is convert about two to 3% of our users to premium members, which pays for the entire thing.
Andrew: Two to 3%.
Andrew: Two to 3% conversions. And the way you’re funding all this is, this isn’t your, your first business, obviously we’ve talked about others, but you’ve got a company called Touch App Media, right? Where you’ve been running it since 2010, it’s profitable. Can you gimme a sense of revenues there? How big is that business and what does it do?
Khanan: Yeah, it’s in the millions of a year in terms of revenue, private company. Um, I’ve been running. Also bootstrap, but it became revenue positive from day one, , because, uh, I’ll tell you a quick story. I went to a paintball game, uh, with a, with a guy, his name is James Cannonsburg, friend of mine and a co-founder of a company called Tu, uh, CTO there.
And through that paintball game, we bonded. And next thing we talked about is how can you help us build mobile apps for the company? And I didn’t have any experience with this, by the way. And like at that, at around 2010. There was no standards for building mobile apps really, cuz it’s so new. 2007 is when the iPhone came out.
2010 is when the iPad came out. Iav, you started the company three years too late. You should have been there 2007. Different story. Um, but basically from that relationship we scaled and the pretty much build roadmaps for big companies in terms of their mobile strategy for people that get degrees online.
So some of the highlights we had, During the Persian Gulf, we had a guy in the rock using a mobile phone, , uh, on base getting his MBA degree from unc. Um, and like that wouldn’t be possible without a mobile device internet connection. Um, so like
Andrew: so your clients are schools. Schools that need to go, need mobile experiences, right?
Khanan: Yeah. To be more accurate, it’s O P M providers. That’s market term, online program managers. These are the companies that run, um, for on behalf of schools. They run university based programs like degrees. . There’s also short courses, there’s boot camps, there’s other flavors of that. Um, you might have heard of Coursera, for example.
And so Coursera gives you free courses, but they also run, uh, degrees, uh, for their university partners. Um, and that’s sort of an OPM provider. So, so we partnered with the OPM provider to help them build their mobile strategy. And that’s been pretty good. Like this, this has, this has carried us long ways.
And, and like you said, it provides funding for what we’re doing on Kamado for sure.
Andrew: what do you think about AI in the future for all these explainer videos that people are creating internally? Where do you think that would go?
Khanan: I think we have to move very fast. Any entrepreneur who runs a SaaS company needs to be obsessed over this . And so not just on video, but in general with what’s happening. Um, it sort of took, take the industry by storm. . Um, we’re gonna do a lot with it. We’re gonna do a lot with it for Kimodo in terms of like the value we provide to our users, um, and in terms of like building insights from video, helping them be more creative, more productive.
Um, but it’s really important to be, you know, to stay on top of what’s happening in this, you know, in terms of like the evolution of this and what it does, I, I think it’s gonna change our life. I think it will change how we work. I think it’s how we, it’s gonna change how we produce things. I think it’s gonna change how much code we develop.
Um, I don’t, I don’t particularly feel threatened by it, at least now. Um, because, you know, some folks even on our team are like, oh my God, I don’t need to code anymore. like this, can it, it, it’s easy to see how this will write better code than a, a well-versed developer. It’s easy to see it get there. It’s not there yet, but if you give it some time, it’s easy to see.
It’s gonna write better code from a sentence than a developer Kent. Um, but
Harry: I just wanna say from my opinion, I know a lot of people are very fearful of, uh, their job security with ai. But you know what I’d like to remind. These people that these same fears were around were at the advent of the personal computer. Oh my god, this thing’s gonna take my job. What we’ve seen, we haven’t seen people, uh, you know, there have been, uh, losses in certain sectors, but overall it’s been a huge boom for the economy.
um, no. It’s cost an increase in jobs. So for whoever other is fearful that AI is gonna take over their jobs or it’s gonna be a, um, a net negative. I, i, I, I would argue the po the, the opposite. I think this is just gonna create jobs. This is gonna just help the economy and help us, um, be more productive.
Andrew: I feel like Kamodo in the future could end up with, um, how would I describe this with a situation where, , I could go in once I’ve uploaded all my how-to videos, I can just have anyone on the team ask a question, and then AI will search all your transcripts of the previous videos and come up with just the answer with maybe a link back to the video.
I mean, the ability to do searches like that is pretty impressive. And that’s not future. That’s today. Right?
Khanan: we’re working on that. You just said
Andrew: I figured.
Harry: Constantly thinking about that.
Khanan: So great, great insight. Um, and other things, it’s, it’s also imagine that if you wanna record something, you just type in, I need a screencast demo. And have a system go and interact with the site on your behalf and generate a guide, as you saw, right? Like, I wanna add a user to Salesforce.
How do I do that? Um, these technologies already exist. That’s the crazy part, is this, this is already possible. So I think what we’re gonna see is a bunch of companies integrate the G P T api. It’s gonna be a little difficult to figure out who has the advantage, because they’re all gonna be powered by sort of like the same engine, if you will.
So it, it becomes a creative approach, right? How do you stand out? Because I think every SA entrepreneur is probably looking at how did you build this? I hear this in. Executive meetings I’m in from different companies. This is a conversation that comes up all the time. How do we use this? What do we do with this?
Let’s assign a team. Let’s, let’s get ’em, figure this
Andrew: do we do with
Khanan: This is coming up in
Andrew: it? Yeah.
Khanan: I’m seeing this in, in investor or public investor presentations. You know that this is a, because the analysts are asking these questions now in public companies. What are you gonna do with this? How does this apply to your business?
There’s real, I, I think we’re gonna see some major transformations very quickly. Um, and like people don’t realize how fast this happens because it’s, it’s exponential change, right? This is not a linear growth curve. It’s exponential. So, so,
Andrew: I, you know what? I didn’t either. I started writing something and then actually I started editing, uh, writer’s work. And then I said, you know what? I don’t like this. I wanna say, and then I couldn’t think of what to say, and then notion automatically has AI put in, or I guess I got into their beta for it.
and I thought, this is not really gonna work today. It’s kind of gimmicky. And sure enough, it worked. It gave me my next line, and then it gave me the next one as now I was still telling you what I was trying to say, but it organized it. And then I had another example. I needed to add another email to my, to my, uh, superhuman app.
And because I used two factor authentication, my password wasn’t working, you know, I needed to create an app specific password. And so I googled the answer and the. Was, it was just linking me to different how-tos that weren’t working. I said, you know what, I’ve got this chat, G P T, let’s go in there. And I typed in and it gave me the answer, but unfortunately the answer was wrong.
And I realized it was because its data was just pulling in from Google’s own sites, which were also wrong. Um, so, and I said, it’s wrong. There’s gotta be another way. And sure enough, there was another way and it, all I have to do is type in it’s wrong. What else do you got? And it gave me another way to get that.
It’s so freaking good. And this morning I was listening to the Verge Cast. Uh, Wait, I gotta give you one more. The, the, I’ve been keeping a journal for years. This morning the Verge cast episode was about journals and security, at least that was part of it. And like, which journal do you use? How do you make sure it’s secure?
And then the issues for developers behind these journals for how, how do you keep it secure, but also allow people to, you know, find all their photos and all their journal entries from Christmas. And in it they happened to say, and we’re adding AI to a journals. And I started thinking about, well, yeah, then you could search and ask a questions, how was I doing about this topic at this time?
And all that is just so exciting, so freaking exciting. And I guess for you, you’re thinking that way too. Dream with me a little bit. Uhhuh
Harry: no, just, uh, I just to see a line from Jeff Bezos. We’re a day one. We’re a day one with this.
Andrew: Yeah, so dream like, where would you imagine this going, Harry or Hanan? Where would you imagine either one of you? Let’s, let’s try to visualize possibilities and then go bring them about.
Khanan: it, it’s such a complex thing cuz we’re so bad at predicting the future, you know, it is, it’s almost like by default you’re wrong. But I, it’s, it’s so, there’s a lot of positive to it. But it also comes with a lot of negative, I think. And so every time I get an email, I don’t know if we wrote it anymore.
You know, it’s like it’s so easy to do that. Like all these emails become, it’s very difficult to,
Andrew: I just assume a lot of them
Khanan: What this is. Sure. But then what I worry about,
Andrew: seems like the natural answer is search using AI and give people the answer. Either in text or text and the video that already exists and, and help them get the, help them get past the, uh, what’s blocking them. Show them without having to watch a whole video.
Harry: Funny side note, when I, when I send out emails, now I have to put in a line. This is not a bot, this is not ai. I’m a real person.
Khanan: It’s like a
Harry: I dunno how well that works. I know how well that works, but I put it in.
Khanan: I was answering you in the context of like, in general, like where I think it’s going in some of the troubles and, and, and Kamado specifically does a lot to do. And so like one thing to look at, if you look at a lot of these tools that exist too, they’re all single player.
So if, if you take any of our competitors, you record something, you send it to somebody, there’s a concept of folders, you know, let people share things. But folders are like, they’ve been around forever. There’s no real sense of a team, right? So like, if you invite a team, how do the team work? So how do you do smart assignment?
So for example, you have a client and a team, and you have your internal team, and then your different experiences are not the same. A client is reviewing some of the stuff you’re delivering in the sense of like, we wanna build a multi-player experience here. Think of like multi-player editing a video.
Imagine this, this, uh, we can edit this together, right? And sort of like create content together in that sense. But even more, we’re always thinking about increasing product. do we help people that use the technology be more productive and sort of get out of the way? We’re always thinking about that.
That’s why we created that editor that I showed you earlier on the macros where you can remove things and keep 90% of the video, but change the introduction. I made this for Nike tomorrow. I made it for Reebok, let’s say, and keep the rest. But if you start to integrate the power of these tools, not only is it finding things like you said, right, finding discovery, answering questions, and kind of like helping you stay organized.
It can do things for. , right? And so like imagine that we updated Mixergy website tomorrow and then say, Hey, make a screencast of what changed. and this thing just goes out there and starts writing an automation. And it starts clicking around and saying, this is a new feature that labels, it makes a document for you and, and you have a deliverable.
And all you have to do in that is just review it. Right? Okay, maybe this, I wanna change that or that. Um, it’s, it’s hard to even like imagine where all the things are gonna go. Um, but if you apply it, even from, from us, we’re already using it for development. So I’m, I’m taking a lot of our code and saying, give, give me, write me a test script for all this code, all these functions we have, right?
Test scripts, let’s say something that developers will do. And now developers have been freed to work on other things. So I think you’re gonna start to see momentum like we’ve never seen in terms of software and like what people put out there because a lot of the boiling boiler plate sort of. It can just handle for you.
It’s phenomenal. And now that they have plugins, I don’t know if you’ve seen that they introduced plugins.
Andrew: I saw,
Khanan: that’s a huge deal. Um, you know, like I talked to folks, I heard an interesting comment a few days ago from an executive that they’re challenging Apple with us. Because if you can put plugins in this thing and your interaction becomes messaging, you have , you don’t need to use apps.
make a reservation at this restaurant and it just goes out there and it doesn’t. So, and it’s only the beginning, like Harry said. It’s hard to see, right? Like how, how it’s gonna evolve, but it’s happening very quickly.
Harry: And just from my
Andrew: Siri’s starting to look more and more stupid.
Harry: and just, just from my perspective, it’s, it’s, it’s hard to predict as an onset. It’s hard to predict how that future’s going to look like. But you know, one of the things that drive us from a, from a product development standpoint are part of our mission statement, if you will, is we want to give people back time, uh, however way we can, and AI is going to do that for us.
And we don’t know exactly. We’re seeing some of it right now, but one of the, but I do know that it’s just going to remove friction points, make a reservation to a restaurant, book an airline ticket. I can just say it. It’s just going to remove a slew of friction points that we, uh, that we have in existence today.
So how that’s going to happen, I’m not too sure. Um, I don’t know if anyone, any of us can predict, uh, with a hundred percent accuracy, but we do know that it’s just going to give people back time.
Khanan: You should if, if you like those, you should like Sam Altman and Lex Friedman and.
Andrew: Uhhuh, he on Lex Friedman? I didn’t, I didn’t catch that.
Khanan: I was just gonna say there’s a YouTube there. You should check this out. Very important. Block out three hours of your time. I think everybody needs to do this cuz the industry changed. Like Friedman and Sam Altman talk about this for three hours, like
Andrew: Oh dude. Okay. That’s gonna be great. All right. I see it. Lex Friedman with Sam Altman just came out three days ago. , this is the future. I’m looking forward to seeing it on Komoto, but I’ll say that even today, Komoto is phenomenal at a great price, which is basically free unless you want more features.
I think for most people the free versions just gonna be phenomenally. Just it’s great. I, you guys don’t even expire people’s videos after a year or something at some point. Shouldn’t, shouldn’t you delete it and save yourself some space.
Khanan: We believe you own your data, so it’s up to you to delete things.
Andrew: All right. Right on. It’s kamodo dex.com. Gentlemen, thanks so much for being on here, everyone. Thanks for listening. Bye everyone.