Monetizing Free Users And Recapping MicroConf

This week The Founders talk about free users and discuss some possible ways to try and monetize them. They also talk about MicroConf's virtual conference this year and get misty-eyed about it leaving Las Vegas. Also, why didn't Second Life have a second life during the pandemic? Tune in to listen to some theories!

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Full Transcript:
Ben:
Yeah, the party doesn't start until you show up, Josh.

Josh:
I'm a party animal.

Starr:
Yeah, that's true. How's everybody doing?

Josh:
Good.

Ben:
I had a good last week. How are you, Starr?

Starr:
I'm doing pretty good. I got to dive a little bit into our sort of usage data for free users, and that's always fun when I get to do that. I got to use JupyterLab a little bit, brushing up on my Python skills, and yeah. So, I had been... whenever I do my sort of deep dives in the numbers and stuff, I would always just make a bunch of Ruby scripts, and use Ruby scripts to kind of process the data and make it understandable to me. But, it turns out there's a whole fricking ecosystem around this this and Python, and it's... yeah.

Starr:
There's a system called JupyterLabs. You can get it as part of this bigger distribution that's basically... it's called Conda, which is a Python distribution that just has all of the data science stuff built into it. And so, yeah. So, it's just this little web app you run, and then you can... it's really kind of awesome. It's like if you took an IRB shell or something and put it inside of a text editor and let you write markdown around it, and then also included a whole bunch of tools for doing really complicated stuff with tables of data, and doing that in one or two lines of code.

Josh:
That's cool.

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
That reminds me a little bit of what I've seen of org mode and Emacs. Isn't that the thing where you can embed code, and generate tables, and stuff like that, I think? It's super-

Starr:
I don't know, I've never used that.

Josh:
It's a pain in the ass.

Starr:
Well, this is surprisingly not a pain in the ass. It's actually pretty cool, so yeah. So, I've got some... I'm not done with it, but I'm going to have a little report to share at our marketing meeting, which I think is next week, and yeah, about how to squeeze more blood out of our free users. So, get ready, guys, because it's not going to be pretty. I'm just kidding.

Josh:
Well, we've been very generous to our free users, so there's a lot of potential there.

Starr:
Yeah.

Ben:
I have a suggestion for helping our free users, add value to us.

Josh:
Is this just our monetization model now? We just rant at our free users in this new podcast? It's just like, if you want to hear us stop bitching then sign up for our paid plan.

Ben:
We'll annoy you until you pay us. So, we had a free user upgrade just a little while ago, just this morning, and I went and looked at their account, and they've been a free user for a few months, and the trigger... what I was interested in was, why did they upgrade? And I was actually going to email them because I've been spending all morning emailing new signups and reaching out to people who have signed up recently.

Ben:
Anyway, so I was going to contact this person and say, "Hey, why did you sign up?" But I went and checked their account and it turns out they sent a whole lot of errors, like today or yesterday. And so, they reached the quota limit and so they had to upgrade so they could actually get their errors. And so, my idea is we just send every new signup a bottle of whiskey and tell them that they can only drink it while they're coding, right? And so then can go like, "Oh, a bunch of errors."

Starr:
Oh, there you go. So we sabotage their... yeah.

Ben:
Exactly, exactly. Exactly.

Starr:
We sabotage their code. Our discussion along these lines is really reminding me in a weird way of The Godfather or something. It's like, "Okay, free users: we've been very generous to you over the years. Have you doubted our generosity? No. So, now it's time for us to ask a little favor."

Ben:
I like it.

Josh:
I don't know if it works that way on the internet.

Starr:
No, I don't think so.

Ben:
We need to get a new illustration of the honey badger as the Godfather.

Starr:
Oh, there you go.

Ben:
I can just see him sitting behind the oak panel desk, in the overstuffed chair, smoking a cigar.

Starr:
Yeah, that would be something. I'm not sure people would immediately... we'd have to caption it.

Ben:
Yeah, yeah, that's true.

Starr:
Yeah, because otherwise he's just like an executive, right?

Ben:
Yeah.

Ben:
A fat-cat CEO boss, right?

Starr:
Yeah, exactly. We're not about that. We're the exception monitoring tool for the 99%.

Josh:
Is that why we're so cheap?

Ben:
Buy exceptions.

Starr:
Must be, must be.

Ben:
Yeah, I've been doing this outreach this week, getting started. We mentioned in the last episode that we're working with a sales team coach, concierge app combo, whatever you want to call it. I couldn't remember the name, unfortunately, last week, but this week I can remember the name because I've been doing it, working with them all week, and it's Harris from IntroCRM.com, and they are fantastic. We just started working with them on nurturing our inbound leads, because we do get people signing up all across the spectrum. We get a bunch of those free users, but we also get people signing up who are developers at very large organizations. And so, we're trying to develop a scheme where we optimize our time and reach out to people who... a little more personal approach to people who might be at those big orgs, who might end up being a bit bigger customer.

Ben:
So, this week I've basically just been reaching out to a whole bunch of people, regardless of their company size or whatever. I'm just trying to get into the groove of emailing people and saying, "Hey, what do you think about Honeybadger? Is there something I can do for you?" And then, over time, we'll refine that process and hopefully fill up the pipelines so I can even start doing demos or something crazy.

Starr:
Oh my god.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Yeah. So, it's been great working with them.

Josh:
You have to get out the old clip-on tie.

Starr:
Yeah. We're going to have to get you some Oxford shirts and a clip-on tie.

Josh:
Do they make some that are just like they just need to cover your shoulders, basically, and just halfway down you torso, just like-

Starr:
I'm sure they have those.

Josh:
It's what we see on Zoom, so.

Starr:
It's like a bib.

Josh:
Yeah, right.

Starr:
A child's bib.

Josh:
It's a sales bib.

Starr:
Or like when you go to eat ribs.

Ben:
Actually, I'm still tying a tie once a week, every week. Yeah, even though I'm still doing church online-

Josh:
On Sundays?

Ben:
Yeah, on Sundays. I'm still putting on the white shirt, putting on the tie, and yeah.

Josh:
I mean, it's got to be kind of comforting to keep some sort of weekly tradition like that during the past crazy... yeah. Groundhog Day.

Ben:
Exactly. I have switched out the suit pants for sweatpants, but other than that I'm still-

Josh:
Nice.

Starr:
Haven't we all?

Josh:
Well, one of the interesting things, that I thought was interesting with that, because we have a Slack Connect channel, now, with the introtoCRM folks, and so they've been giving us some, I guess, sales tips, and they're helping us identify those leads. And, Harris mentioned that a lot of times users, like employees at large orgs, will sign up with their personal email addresses sometimes, and so you can't just identify people based on their company email or something, right? I think that was something he mentioned.

Ben:
Yeah, that's very interesting.

Josh:
So, those Gmail addresses might not be so-

Ben:
Yeah, I think that's-

Josh:
They might not be hackers.

Ben:
Right. Yeah, we do get a lot of signups from security researchers who use the Joe Blow and random six-digit address at Gmail.com, and in some cases we're like, "Well, we don't really count them because they're just kicking the tires and trying to see if they can find some vulnerabilities in the site," or whatever, which is fine, but they're not really a lead. So, yeah, it's good to have some external validation, I guess, around, "Let's really see who these people are and maybe that JobBob23@gmail.com is actually a CTO at-"

Josh:
Yeah. I'm trying to think why do you think that that would be... I don't know if it's a trend, like the thing you just mentioned. It can happen, but if it happens enough for a sales consultant to mention it, why is that a thing? Do you think they're trying to... Like, they don't want their bosses to know that they're trying tools outside the company?

Starr:
Maybe they don't want salespeople to contact them.

Ben:
Yeah. I could sort of see it.

Josh:
Is that it?

Ben:
They don't want the sales spam to their-

Josh:
Oh, the salespeople are onto them, though, because they're mentioning that as one of the first things to look for, so it's like.

Starr:
Yeah, it's-

Josh:
This is a rivalry, is what you're saying, right? A classic rivalry.

Starr:
Yeah. It's like War of the Roses. Since you're going through these by hand, I found that it was kind of obvious which free email addresses looked a little suspicious. Like, string of random characters at AOL.com, probably not a legit developer signup. The people with the free, who were probably pen testers probably not real leads who were using the free email accounts, they looked programmatically generated, or they looked like somebody's grandma's email account that somebody hacked in 1996 and hasn't been recovered yet.

Josh:
Yeah. They should have used Faker.

Ben:
Right?

Ben:
Yeah, we need to build an AI for this, to automatically give us a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on someone that looks like they're a real, actual customer.

Josh:
There's probably something like that out there.

Ben:
Probably is.

Josh:
But yeah.

Starr:
It would probably be terrible.

Josh:
Yeah, you have to join a sales call for it.

Starr:
Probably end up being super racist or something, like all AIs are these days.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
We don't have so many sign-ups that it's unworkable to actually manually go over them. We do have enough that I don't want to spend all day, every day doing deep dives into researching every person, but yeah. Scanning a list and seeing someone that looks like a Mailinator.com, it's like, "Okay, we'll just pass over that one and go on to the next one."

Josh:
Yeah. So, how's the response so far? Are you getting any people replying?

Ben:
So, per what you would expect from developers, not a whole lot of responses. But yeah, some, some. And, the people that do respond, it's been nice. Like, the responses have been good. Like, "Oh yeah, thanks for checking," or, "I'm doing this," or stuff. So, yeah. It's been good.

Josh:
Cool.

Ben:
And it's fun checking out their websites. Like, I've been checking out some things. One was a land... you can check out who a plot of land was owned by, and the classification, zoning, stuff like that. So, one of our customers who signed up recently is running one of those things, and I just love that stuff. I'm a location nerd. I love shopping for houses and stuff, so that was just fun to play on their website for a few minutes.

Josh:
That's cool. Do you mention that stuff, like when you do that research? Do you mention like, "Oh, I think your product is really cool"?

Ben:
Yeah, totally.

Josh:
I did the same thing. Years back, I remember taking, just going through and emailing people, and I found that was helpful: mention something, show them that you actually did some research and you're not just like... So, I mean, a lot of people, they just assume that any email they get after they sign up for your product is an autoresponder.

Starr:
Yeah, that's a good tip. And also, if nothing else. It's going to be nice to have that kind of feedback about just our customers, and who they are, and what they're working on.

Ben:
Yeah, and I'm particularly focused in on... So, we have in our internal admin tools, we have a list of people who signed up recently, and on that list it shows ones that have not created a project, or not sent any error traffic. So, obviously they haven't really used the app, really, yet. And so, I'm really focused on those. If I see a zero in that column, then I try to make sure to reach out to them and say, "Hey, is there anything I can help you get your app going?" Get Honeybadger installed, because if they don't ever activate, then obviously they're not going to convert, and that's bad news for everybody, right?

Josh:
Yeah. I mean, it makes sense to have someone doing that on a regular basis, probably.

Starr:
That's true. I'm curious what you'll find, because I found that... I mean, obviously this was, when I looked at it, this was data from... It's historical data, right? But, I found that once you sort of filtered out people in free email addresses, once you limited it to the US, just to make things easier, we didn't have a ton of people who weren't onboarding themselves and sending errors to us.

Ben:
Yeah. Yeah, I think most people here are real people who are actually interested in a product actually do get through the whole process and do activate. So, yeah. But, anything. I'm trying everything to-

Starr:
Oh, yeah.

Ben:
... to activate those people, so we'll see what is it.

Josh:
If you really want to go the extra mile, you could do one of those little personalized screen-casts, like Harris sent you for the sales proposal, but just do a quick one. Be like, "Hey, so-and-so. I saw you signed up. I just wanted to show you we're real people over here," and something really short that's easy to produce if you created a system for it. But, I wonder if that would change the response rate at all.

Ben:
Yeah.

Josh:
Because it's kind of hard to... I mean, at least if you see it and realize what it is, it's kind of hard to brush that off as, "Oh, this is just a low-effort."

Ben:
Sure, sure.

Starr:
Yeah. The trick will be getting people to click on it, because I'm not going to click on any video sent to me unexpectedly.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Yeah.

Starr:
Maybe we should just send them a picture in front of their house.

Josh:
Upload it somewhere recognizable, like YouTube or Vimeo.

Starr:
Like, "I'm standing outside of your house right now, where you're probably working."

Josh:
It's like Street View of their office.

Ben:
Well, on the video note, actually one video that I'm thinking about, seriously thinking about making, is regarding our mission. I mean, I was talking to Harris. So, we had this intro, like this startup call. "Let's figure out what we're going to be doing for the first month," and things. And, it was just, I don't know, an hour or something on Zoom, and it was great because Harris is interviewing me, basically, to find out how they could best fit into our current situation and help us get to where we want to go.

Ben:
And, he asked about... I can't remember what the question was, but my answer was talking about why we do what we do, like why we built Honeybadger. And, as I was wrapping up talking about that I was like, "Man, I wish we had recorded this Zoom call, because if I took that snippet where I was talking about that and just published that, that would be a great video for our website." Basically, talking about how, one, we built Honeybadger because of our frustration with the tool that we had at the time, and how we felt like we deserve better and all developers deserve better.

Ben:
And so, we built something that we felt would be better and would help make the developers' lives better, at least when it comes with dealing with exceptions, right? And then, the next step, which I don't think we talk about enough, and I'm going back to the website copy to update this, and maybe this is why I'll make the video, too. So, we want to make developers' lives better, but also to make developers' customers' lives better.

Ben:
That's our goal, is to help developers know what's happening with their customers in their apps, and so they can fix those bugs quickly, they can respond to those customers quickly and let them know, "Hey, sorry you had a problem. Sorry about that, they fixed it." Just let people know that you care, that you're not just like, "Oh, whatever. We don't care about our customers because they can have all the problems and we're just going to on our merry way," right? So, yeah. So, I spent five or 10 minutes just delivering that spiel to Harris, and I was like, "Yeah, this would make a great video for our website." So, it's on my to-do list, if I can get up the nerve to actually see myself in a recorded video.

Josh:
Yeah. You can do it. Yeah, it might take a few takes. That was a lot harder than I realized, talking to a camera when you're not actually talking to anyone, when no one's there. You're just into the camera. It's weird. I think it gets a little bit more familiar the more you do it.

Starr:
You can just tape a picture of somebody you like below your webcam or something.

Ben:
Right? Maybe tape a picture of my ideal customer. Find that target customer, like MR. CTO, or Mrs. CIO, and be like, "Hi, Mrs. CIO. I'm Ben. I'm here to tell you why you've got Honeybadger."

Josh:
That would be a really funny product, like for AI and deepfakes and stuff. It could actually generate a person for you to talk to.

Ben:
Oh, there you go. I like that.

Josh:
For those types of things, that actually responds to what you're saying, so it's as if they're listening.

Ben:
Oh, I like that. That would be awesome.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
I was going the other way. I was thinking you could just make paper cutouts and glue them to Popsicle sticks. You could have a little puppet show. That could be your video. People don't have to just watch you, you can do a little puppet show.

Josh:
You just do your two hands talking to each other.

Starr:
This is how serious we are. This is how businesslike we are.

Ben:
Sock puppets? Yeah. "I'm a developer."

Josh:
That would be unique. I have not seen that done recently.

Starr:
Yeah. I was just thinking of Sifl and Hoy the other day. I don't know if you'll remember that show, but it was pretty amazing. Nobody? Crickets. Okay. I guess that's why it got canceled. Anyway, funniest show. Funniest show from 1998, '99? I don't know.

Ben:
Speaking of funny shows of the 90s, so I got a trial of Paramount Plus because I wanted to watch a movie, and I was like, "Hey, they have it for free, so I can get a trial." And so, I watched the movie, and then I was cruising to see what else they had to watch. We don't watch a whole lot of TV in the Curtis household, so I was just scrolling through, and I saw Beavis and Butthead, and I'm like, my boys were in the room. They're 20 and 16. I'm like, "Hey." I mean, this is perfect, right? The three of us, Beavis and Butthead, what could get better? So I'm like, "Hey, you guys want to watch Beavis and Butthead?" And they're like, "No, not at all."

Josh:
Oh no.

Starr:
Oh no.

Josh:
It's not cool anymore.

Starr:
You should have said it was deep-fried.

Josh:
That's just got to suck.

Starr:
Call it a deep-fried meme or something, whatever they do.

Josh:
I know. It's all these things, all these shows and things that we love, that we grew up with, and there's so many more of them for us now, with all the media that's being produced, and it's just, the kids are just going to be like, "Yeah, I really want to watch I Love Lucy with my dad."

Starr:
Yeah, that's fine. So, my daughter, who's five, has this bit she does and I fall for it every time. She's like, "Hey, could you tell me about what things were like when you were a kid?" And I'm like, "Okay, yeah. This is something new, I like this," and so I start saying something. And then she lets me go for a second, and then she interrupts and then she says, "Were there dinosaurs?"

Josh:
That's awesome.

Starr:
"Did you have food back then?" And it's just like, every time I forget that I'm being set up. I fall for it every time. It's just, grr.

Ben:
That's great.

Josh:
Do you think she's trolling you intentionally?

Starr:
100%. She's 100% trolling me. Yeah, her whole job, it's her whole life now, is trolling me. Yeah, with her little shit-eating grin. It's like, I love her, but oh man she really trolls me.

Ben:
So, a number of us attended MicroConf Remote this week.

Starr:
Oh, how was that?

Ben:
It was good. What do you think about-

Starr:
Do you mean everybody but me?

Ben:
Yeah, basically.

Starr:
Okay.

Josh:
I liked Gather, the app. I attended a conference... it's Gather.Town, is the URL, and it's like a virtual event space that's eight-bit. It's like Zelda or something for conferences. I don't know. Or like Stardew Valley. It reminds me of kind of like that. But, you can basically... they had an event space where it was a virtual layout of whatever, a conference event, and they had breakout rooms and an auditorium, and I think I used this once before, like last year, right when everyone was scrambling to figure out virtual events, and it was a little like, I didn't really click as much then.

Josh:
I thought it was cool, but it didn't get utilized very much, but I think they recently added where they show the actual... Like, when you go to the auditorium is actually shows whoever's speaking at the time. It pops up their video and it's like, the event is actually happening inside of this little eight-bit world, which was kind of fun. So, we all... Ben, and Kevin, and I all sat together in the middle row, and Ben had an ops emergency, so we knew it was a real... It felt just like being at MicroConf.

Ben:
Yeah, yeah. Gather.Town was really good. I think that's the best virtual conference experience I've had so far. Business of Software was really good, and this was really good. I would make a couple changes, though. I know the eight-bit thing is all cool and stuff, but if you want to get really close to a real conference, it's better to have real faces. Part of the appeal for Gather.Town is you're wandering around in a physical space, and so you might come up to a group of people who are talking and then their audio fades in, and their video, if they have video on, you can see their faces, and so you can join a conversation like you would at a real conference: walk up and like, "Hey, I'm such-and-such," right?

Ben:
But, what you can't do with the way they had the eight-bit thing is... and you couldn't customize your avatar much... is you can't recognize somebody from far off. You can't say, "Oh, I know that person. I want to go and see what they're up to," or, "I remember seeing them last year," then we go. Because it's like, no one knew who Ben is. He's just an avatar. So, that was kind of frustrating, because there were people that I knew who were there, but I have none-

Josh:
You don't know who's, yeah. Unless they have a really unique name or something.

Ben:
Right? Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah. Yeah, I have a similar thought. I think if you could customize, personalize your avatar to the point where people would recognize you, that would be cool. Or use a headshot. But, I don't know. The eight-bit is kind of fun, too. It's, I don't know.

Ben:
Yeah. And then the other thing that goes along with that is a badge. So, at conferences you wear this badge on your lanyard. It has your name and it has your company name, maybe your Twitter handle, maybe whatever. And, those are actually useful, surprise, surprise, because you can walk up to a group of people and you can quickly look at badges and see people's names, so if you don't know someone but you know their name, "Oh, you're whomever. Oh, I should talk to you because of whatever, we have a shared interest," right?

Ben:
But that information wasn't available on Gather.Town either. You couldn't really broadcast that "My name is Ben Curtis," or, "I'm a co-founder of Honeybadger," which, all the time at conferences people would see the name tag, and they see the name, and they're like, "Oh, I know Honeybadger," and then they strike up a conversation. So, I think if you really want to replicate that experience you got to show that, somehow, on the screen. But, otherwise, Gather.Town was great. I loved it.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
It seems like they need everybody's profile in there, and you can search and find where they are in the room or whatever they can.

Josh:
Yeah, they could definitely make some, like a roster.

Starr:
And as you get close to people it pops up dossiers on each of them.

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Whatever happened to Second Life?

Starr:
I was just thinking this sounds very... it sounds like what people were doing in Second Life. It's still around.

Ben:
Yeah, 20 years ago.

Starr:
Yeah, it's still around. I saw a documentary.

Josh:
Yeah, it's still around and it hasn't changed. I mean, every time I've gone back and looked at it it's just the same. It's basically the same. But it just seems like... I'm surprised they just haven't exploded in the last year. This was their opportunity to... I mean, they're a virtual world that's got... They have all that stuff built in. You can play video in the world. It's one of the most virtual spaces, probably, that you could have. So, I'm surprised that they didn't pivot after however many years, and really-

Starr:
That would be pretty hard, though, to just... they would have to just be like, "Okay, drop everything. We're going to build a completely new platform that isn't old, that's going to entice people." By the time you get done with it, pandemic's over.

Ben:
So, I've never checked out Second Life, but one thing that was interesting about your idea about them pivoting, I think maybe it's just they support... it's too wide-open. Ben Thompson at Stratechery had a great bit about this recently, where he's comparing Second Life to Roblox, and talking about the success of Roblox, and he argues that one of the successful attributes of Roblox is the limited nature of the environment. It's very constrained. And so, that encourages creativity in other ways, that you don't get in a Second Life where "everything's possible". And so, it's a bit overwhelming, right?

Starr:
Yeah. I don't know. I think, having watched the documentary and not ever used it, it seems like there's a lot of creativity there. It's just-

Josh:
Well, there is, yeah, but then it's also... I mean, I imagine it would be hard for them to pivot, also, just because of the way they've built a functioning economy into the system. I'm assuming they would have popular uprisings, and there would be revolts if they pivoted to sell out to some sort of corporate event overlords or something. The people would rise up, because, there's people that still, they make their living in that economy.

Starr:
Yeah, that's true.

Ben:
Yeah. I just think having a more constrained environment would be better for a conference, like the Gather.Town thing.

Starr:
Oh yeah, for a conference.

Ben:
Yeah. You're located in this conference center, and you have the expo hall, and you have the library and things like that. I did love the expo hall in Gather.Town. I really did. Being able to go up and check out a vendor sponsor without having to chat with someone was fantastic.

Starr:
Oh, that's nice.

Ben:
Yeah. You could go up, you'd walk up to a booth, and there might be a person there or there might not, and there would be a computer there on the desk, and you could, if you check that out, you would actually see their web page that was specifically for the conference. Or you could, of course, chat to the booth person who might be manning the booth. That's the best expo hall experience of a conference so far. That was cool.

Josh:
I didn't go in there. I should have.

Ben:
Yeah.

Josh:
I never really do anything, to be honest.

Ben:
Yeah, I didn't do a lot of hanging out, either.

Josh:
Besides sit in the auditorium. But, that was cool.

Ben:
That was cool. So, props to MicroConf for using Gather.Town. That was a good experience.

Josh:
One of the things I liked about the MicroConf, the way they did it, was that it wasn't all day, which, some of the past virtual events I've done, like they kept the schedule of a traditional event, which is sessions in the morning, break for lunch, sessions in the afternoon. By the end of it, you've been sitting in front of your computer in a virtual meeting, basically, for eight hours or something, and it's just exhausting, and MicroConf only had... they did two talks, I think, per day or something. And then there was opportunity to go do... If you wanted to go check out the sponsors or chat, find people to chat with, you could. But, it felt less overwhelming.

Starr:
I would like it if regular conferences were like that. I mean, they're not because everybody's away from work and doesn't want to be away from home for a week, but two talks a day is about, honestly, my ideal situation. Even at-

Josh:
That's basically what we do at normal MicroConf.

Starr:
Yeah. At normal conferences, I just can't watch them all. By the end of the day, sure I can sit there, but I am just not comprehending anything that's going on.

Josh:
Yeah. Should we complain? Should we voice our opinion about missing Las Vegas, Ben? Or is that too controversial?

Ben:
Oh.

Josh:
Because we were some of the ones that were like, "I'm sick of coming to Las Vegas," but now the thought of not going... I just don't want to go to Minneapolis. I'd rather... I miss Las Vegas for some reason, and we haven't come to that, yet.

Ben:
Yeah. Well, we got to the point where we weren't staying at the Tropicana anymore because we had enough of the Tropicana, right?

Josh:
Maybe that's it. We complained about Las Vegas for several years and then we were like, "Let's just stay somewhere else." And then we started doing that, and all of a sudden it switched and they-

Ben:
Got better.

Josh:
... listened to us.

Ben:
Yeah, yeah. When you first said-

Josh:
We can afford to.

Ben:
When you posted that Street View of Coco's, that hit my right in the feels. I was like, "Oh, now I miss going to Vegas for MicroConf," because that was a great tradition that we had.

Josh:
Yeah. So, Ben and I, yeah. We always would go... and this was your tradition before, I think... I missed the first couple, at least, or... I don't know how many I missed, but Coco's is a diner right next to the Tropicana, or actually it's down the street, past the Hooters. And so, we would always walk down there in the mornings and get breakfast or whatever, just diner breakfast, and just because... I mean, Tropicana's probably not much better, and you get to go outside.

Ben:
Yeah, you get to walk.

Josh:
So, yeah. So, the first, or the second morning of virtual MicroConf. I got on Google Street View and I went to the Tropicana, and then I did the little, went, did our little street walk to Coco's and then sent Ben a screenshot.

Ben:
That was awesome, yeah.

Josh:
Trip down memory lane.

Ben:
Although, one point in favor of Minneapolis... and I agree with you. Given the choice between Las Vegas and Minneapolis, I would choose Las Vegas every time. But, one point in favor of Minneapolis is they have some fine eating establishments there around the convention center, so-

Josh:
That's true.

Ben:
When I travel, I love to kind of splurge on food, and I mean, obviously Vegas has some incredible food selections that you're just not going to beat. But, Minneapolis has some good eateries.

Josh:
It has some good stuff, yeah.

Ben:
So, yeah.

Josh:
Yeah, and I liked the indoor skyway or whatever.

Ben:
Yeah, the sky bridge.

Josh:
That was Minneapolis. The sky bridge was, yeah.

Ben:
Yeah, that was perfect.

Josh:
Yeah. But-

Ben:
Maybe we'll get to go to conference in person again, some time next year or something.

Josh:
Yeah. I mean, no matter where it is, it'll still be fun.

Ben:
Yeah. I actually realized that I do miss traveling a few times a year. I don't think I'd ever want to travel on a regular basis, but I think I had been averaging three or so times a year, prior to COVID.

Josh:
Makes a difference.

Ben:
Yeah, I miss it. I miss going to places.

Starr:
Yeah, it's nice.

Josh:
Actually, late last year I got the notification that my TSA pre-check is expiring in July or something this year, and when I first got the notification I was just like, it just bummed me out. I was like, "Man, do I even need this anymore? Will I ever travel again?" So, I'm starting to think that I will probably be renewing it pretty soon, here, because it'll expire right around the time I need it.

Ben:
They should totally give you a one-year extension on that.

Josh:
They should.

Ben:
I'm sure they're not equipped to do that.

Josh:
Yeah, they're not equipped for much.

Starr:
Yeah, it's really weird getting back into normal life, and travel, and stuff like that. We've been doing little road trips, and staying at Air BnBs and stuff, but that's not really the same.

Ben:
Yeah.

Starr:
What a wonderful, somber note.

Josh:
So, where are you going to go first? Where are you going to go first, Starr?

Starr:
Oh, me? I don't know. I don't know the grocery store? Actually go inside. Yeah. I don't know. Maybe to see the grandparents in California.

Ben:
Yeah, that's where I'd be going. To see the grandparents. It's tough.

Josh:
I mean, screw the grandparents, I'm going to Hawaii.

Starr:
Oh, there you go.

Josh:
Sorry, grandparents.

Ben:
Just tell the grandparents to go to Hawaii, meet them there.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
So, one other thing that happened this week that is kind of fun, I just deployed a few minutes ago, actually, is we're now supporting promotion codes. So-

Josh:
Oh.

Ben:
Another kind of growth hack that we're going to try is partnering with some different groups, and what really prompted this, actually, was MicroConf. So, a few months ago Ben Finley posted about going to the App Sumo marketplace, and I thought, "Yeah, that's a good idea." But, didn't really think a whole lot of it, didn't really plan on doing much about it. Just like, "Yeah, we should do that someday, " and kind of set it aside.

Ben:
And then, like at MicroConf remote, they talked about Ruben Gamez's DocSketch, and how he did an App Sumo thing. And then they had a person from App Sumo talking about the marketplace, talk about how it works and things like that, and I thought, "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea." And I remembered Ben's Basecamp post, and I went and looked at that and I'm like, "Yes, let's do it." And so, during that talk I started to write code.

Ben:
Like, "All right, I have an idea of how to do this." And so, I guess that was a Wednesday, Wednesday/Thursday I wrote the code and put it up there last night for PR, and Josh approved it this morning. So, now we actually support promotion codes, so we can do that App Sumo marketplace testing. And, I have some other ideas of people we can reach out to that I think would be interested in handing out promotion codes for Honeybadger.

Starr:
That's awesome.

Ben:
If you're listening and you happen to be interested in doing a promotion with Honeybadger, feel free to reach out.

Starr:
How can they reach you?

Ben:
Ben@Honeybadger.io would be the best way to go.

Starr:
All right. You mentioned DocSketch briefly. I feel like I should say, we use the hell out of DocSketch. So, DocSketch is a thing that, it's an e-signature platform. It's very much like, what is it, DocuSign?

Ben:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Starr:
But, it is much, much, much more affordable, reasonably priced. It does everything we need and it's much more... I don't know. Also, it's just kind of friendlier, it's simpler.

Josh:
I like it, yeah.

Starr:
Yeah. Like, I wouldn't be surprised-

Josh:
It really is the best one I've used, I think.

Ben:
Yep.

Starr:
It is, it is. And we do at least one or two a week, because I use it for all my author agreements. So, we just-

Josh:
Yeah. I've been using it for the contractors, too. Yeah, for-

Starr:
Yeah, so I feel like we should plug that product, because, yeah, it's awesome, and Ruben's awesome, and yeah. So, everyone should go out and buy it, 

Josh:
So, it really was like a classic MicroConf. You missed the first day due to Honeybadger, and then you spent the next couple days building out a feature based on your takeaways. We got a little trip to Coco's.

Ben:
Almost like the real thing.

Starr:
Wow, yeah.

Josh:
Couldn't have asked for more.

Starr:
You should have had me come over. I would spray you all with dirty water to simulate the time the fire extinguisher went off during the-

Josh:
Oh, that was fun. Yeah.

Starr:
During the talks.

Ben:
Yeah. No, I think we didn't get as like the sore feet from walking back and forth across half the Strip, yeah.

Starr:
Oh god, yeah. So much walking.

Josh:
Yeah. Well, you never know. Maybe there will be a return to Vegas one day, for old time's sake. Or we could just go to Vegas. If they keep doing the virtual MicroConfs, we could just go to Vegas and just stream it from the hotel.

Starr:
There you go. I mean, why are we even trying to pursue growth through customers? We can just put it all on red.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Just let it roll, let it ride. Whatever the people say.

Josh:
It's our annual growth trip. Yes.

Starr:
Okay. You have been listening to FounderQuest. If you want to review us on Apple Podcast, that's awesome. If you want to write for us, we're always looking for writers. Go to our blog at honeybadger.io/blog and see the Write For Us page. And, yeah. And, we're starting a new thing that I'm recruiting writers for, which is we're going to be doing some quarterly sort of reports showing all the sort of news and events and activity that's happened around various programming language communities, so if you're interested in that get in touch, too. All right, see you all later.



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