Tales From The Good/Bad Old Days Of Freelance Gigs

This week The Founders take a trip down freelancer memory lane and talk about the hot apps they built and which of them are still alive. They also cover NFTs, pivoting to private equity, and candy bar servers. Also, is "spider season" an official season in the Pacific Northwest?!?!? Click to listen now on the interwebs.

Show notes:
Links:

Sweaty Startup
Hook Relay
Spider season
Write for Honeybadger

Automated transcript (only about 75% accurate)
Ben
  
So I've been, I've been using Hook Relay over the past week and I got to say, there's nothing as useful as using your own product to make you see places where the product can be improved. So I've, I've opened a couple of issues. Yeah, yeah. And uh, I mean, they're not, they're not major things, but it's like, oh, it would be nice if this was different, would be nice if that was, you know, different. And it's been, it's been good. So I'm, I'm looking forward to having those things done making the product better. And we, uh, you know, we talked about spending some more time, uh, development time on really the other couple next coming weeks and months because I've had some, some customer requests coming in. So 

Ben
  
it's always a good feeling like when people are actually using it and saying, oh yeah, I like it, but couldn't do this like, Oh yeah, I could do that. It's fun. I love it. I love being developer and just building stuff. So much fun. Yeah. 

Josh
  
Yeah. Looking at our, our dashboard, we've got uh, got a few New year's is coming in. Got some a little bit more revenue than last time I looked at this, so that's cool. 

Starr
  
Yeah, that's good stuff. You know, it's the season for it. The, the pacific Northwest summer is long gone and we're just into the dark, wet now. We've gone through a spider season. Yeah, I mean, right, you've got um, yeah, you've got the summer, you've got spider season, you've got dark with it. 

Josh
  
Is that from that like list of pacific Northwest Seasons or whatever, that's like . 

Starr
  
You can, you can call me out on that. I was hoping to um, I was hoping to plagiarize. 

Josh
  
We should, we should put that in the show notes if we can find it though. That's a pretty good one. 

Starr
  
Yeah, that's a good one. 

Josh
  
I don't remember them all, but 

Ben
  
I'm definitely, definitely more productive in the winter time because like, I'm not outside playing, I'm inside hunkering down from the rain, the cold, so I'm like, I might as well do some code. 

Josh
  
Yeah, 

Starr
  
I mean, personally, I kind of um like I kind of stopped going on my morning walks in the summer because there's too many amateurs out. Yeah. And I started again once the fall comes, once it starts getting dark and drizzly and those are my favorite morning walks. 

Josh
  
Nice even in the rain. 

Starr
  
Yeah, especially in the rain, get out. Yeah, that's why you have a nice like Gortex raincoats and my scoots. Yeah, it's all about the gear. Yeah, it's uh, I don't know, this is very pleasant. I like it. The, yeah, the summer here, like it's nice, but after a while, the sun just, just starts getting to me. It's just like, I can't escape it. It's just boring into my eyeballs. 

Ben
  
It is truly a thing around here when the sun has been out too long has been to many is people do get a little so crazy. Like I need some wet and so the first rainy day comes, you can just feel the relief. It's just, it's just, I don't know how to describe it. It's just a sense of community, like relieved that things are back to normal. There's, there's precipitation again. 

Starr
  
Yeah, I came up with a theory and I have no idea how valid the series, so I'm just going to throw it out there because it's unfounded and I'm wondering, so like I realize this, this winter, this, yeah, this fall as I'm going out. It's like, okay, like the reason I, like this is because like everything is more muted, right? And I get over stimulated very easily. So, you know, noise and late and all that just kind of does it to me. 

Starr
  
And but when it's like dark and gray, like for like, I don't know, this may just be my, my perception, but like the water vapor like mutes the sound a little bit or something. It's not quite everything. Like all the edges are more round and pleasant, nothing is quite as sharp and stab. E And so yeah, and Seattle Seattle is like the pacific northwest in general. It's just like, it draws in like all the computer nerds, all the, all the people who just like it here and like that kind of environment. So it's like, oh do we all just, you know, we all have like sensory issues. I don't know. 

Josh
  
That's why all the tech companies are in Seattle. Yeah, probably. I think I need to get an office still because I think like, I think, I think Ben's right, like I I also would be more productive in the winter, but like working from home in the winter with with uh like Kindergartners is a a different experience than working at home in the dark by yourself. It's a bit of a challenge. So yeah, 

Starr
  
when you turn on the lights while you're working, you don't just leave them off. 

Josh
  
Yeah, sometimes I leave them off. Oh yeah, 

Starr
  
that's because you're a real hacker, I've been doing more marketing stuff lately. So I turn the lights on. I use light mode. 

Josh
  
I mean you probably forgot how to touch type, you know, and use them with you shut up, 

Starr
  
shut up. Shut up, you shut up. I get to say that. Not you. 

Josh
  
So you have to have the lights on. I'm sorry. 

Starr
  
Yeah, I don't have one of those keyboard with a blank key caps. 

Josh
  
Like truth be told. I've been um doing a lot less programming than I used to as well. And it's, it started to bother me a little bit lately. So I've been trying to find ways to get back into it because I'm like, if I'm gonna like forget how to build a rails app if I don't, if I don't like, you know, do some do some work. 

Ben
  
We do have like  items in our backlog for Honey badgers. It's true. She can find something to do. Yeah. 

Josh
  
I don't know, it's just weird like having like a legacy rails out for so long um Like even when you are working, like even when you do work in it, it's still like, I don't know, like your, it's, you know, I'm like not utilizing a lot of the knowledge that I built up like, like we we all built up working on client projects, like where you're constantly solving new problems and like building things out. Like a lot of those decisions are already have long been made in a honey badger app. So it's like, yeah, it's, it's weird. It's a little bit different. 

Ben
  
That's been nice about having the side project because like starting a new rails app and making new decisions and trying the new things and new toys like hotwire and you know, stimulus reflex, all kind of stuff. Like it's, it's been, it's been fun. But hey, you know, maybe uh you know, talking about client work like, hey, take on some client work, right? It could uh do something completely different and take on 

Josh
  
an option for sure. Yeah, I thought that could be fun. 

Ben
  
Good old days 

Josh
  
build a green field, a green field ap Yeah, 

Josh
  
this I mean, I think we're talking about like the problem of like what to do with your time when you're, you're like app is like nine years old and stable and, and you have all this time on your hands and you know, want to still build new things, right? 

Starr
  
Yeah, I've got a question like for, I mean, y'all probably don't know because you haven't been freelancing for a while. But to all the freelancers out there, do do people still um do people still higher developers to build like, you know, facebook for x. Like it's like, I just remember working on so many like facebook for so and so um facebook for um nurses, facebook for, you know, whoever and it turned out the facebook for all those groups with facebook, 

Josh
  
right? Was that before facebook groups. 

Starr
  
I think so. Yeah. Yeah I think so it was. Yeah. It's just weird 

Josh
  
because it's like I was our era I mean like for sure like our era freelancing was the facebook for ex Yeah 

Starr
  
because like the social media like the social network had just come out that movie about facebook and so I really wanted to be the next facebook by copying facebook for some vertical. 

Ben
  
I was just I was thinking back to the are kind of projects that we built you know, talking about the facebook for X stuff and uh I think I was like what was my favorite project and the one that I can remember maybe so I guess it's probably my favorite because when I remember the most and remember the most kindly is the Montessori project that we did. That was a lot of fun. Yeah. Remember started a lot of work on 

Josh
  
that project. Still around you know. 

Ben
  
Yeah, it's like still making bank. Mhm. It's gonna be like  years older now by now or something. Yeah. That's awesome. I wonder if it's still on rails too. 

Josh
  
Yeah Caitlin was doing some shopping for the kids last night and she was looking at Baden kids brand. There are many many Baden and I don't know if that name rings a bell with you Ben but it doesn't because they were one of the they were one of the affiliate shops with today shop flashbacks man. I'm much. Yeah I have all these like I've had all these like kids kids clothing brands like just like programmed into my brain for the last  years now. And now that I actually have kids like they're all resurfacing. So 

Starr
  
that's where that was like another that was like another um era which was the um it wasn't the facebook for X. It was the product aggregator. Like we're gonna make we're gonna make a website that aggregates lots of products across you know for different companies and we're just gonna be like an affiliate. We're gonna be really good. S. E. O. 

Josh
  
Yeah it was like the um and and that trend was like kind of I mean amazon was definitely around then but it was like I think these days like amazon is now where everything is pretty much aggregated like that. So this was like I don't know it seems like pre pre amazon like at least in their current scale. 

Starr
  
Yeah I mean amazon missed out on that. Sweet sweet. A sai Buri affiliate money though. Uh huh. Or it's like you got I don't know what it was like  or  bucks if he was an affiliate could like sign somebody up first. The scam a sai buri like subscription service. Well what it was just affiliates but it was a scan because it was recurring charge and people weren't familiar with getting recurring charges. Yeah so um well you don't 

Josh
  
want to boost your health just once. Oh no. And then lose out on all those benefits. So you're really I mean that's like in the that's in the interest of the customer star. 

Starr
  
Exactly. One of my friends worked um back then worked at a ah the call center for a bank and like half of her calls or just people like what the hell? Like why am I keep getting charged for this? 

Josh
  
Like all of your support requests or start with what the hell you work in a bank. 

Ben
  
Yeah. There's a lot of fun things to do when the projects are new and it's all green field. But then, you know, there's also fun things to do when the projects are nine years old. You know, like I was pleasantly surprised on monday morning to find that our database server had failed on sunday morning. You know, it's like, Oh really? That that happened. But our our high availability set up actually worked and the fail over happened and it's just like nothing, nothing happened. I mean these days of course you? Re wild, you would not even set that up, right? You just use already s or you would, you know, there's there's like a gazillion post graze as a service services out there now. But you know, back in my day, you know, we had to push the bits uphill both ways. Right. Mhm. 

Josh
  
So yeah. Imagine if the database server failed in like year two. Yeah, back on, back on snickers. 

Starr
  
Yeah. Yeah. Well our servers were named after candy bars. Candy bars were 

Josh
  
still I love that. We're still on first name first name basis with all of our old servers. 

Ben
  
Uh My favorite tricks though, 

Josh
  
tricks. Yeah, 

Starr
  
I mean it makes sense why that whole hosting platform didn't really work out for us because Trix are for kids been. 

Ben
  
I know, I know, but then my kids were young enough then it made sense. 

Josh
  
Yeah, these drinks, we should build a we should we should do a client project just for fun. I mean and obviously 

Starr
  
obviously right, 

Ben
  
your friends but of course is gonna be for money. Yeah. 

Josh
  
The great thing about client projects is like you get to build them and then and then you get to like, never see them again. 

Ben
  
It's like, it's like, it's like being grandparents right where you can send the kids back to the parents like oh we'll have some fun, will spoil the kid and then send them back to be the parents so you can grow this little rails app and you can have some fun with it and then send it off, you know? And 

Josh
  
yeah, yeah. And then you're like, you're like, oh I wonder what happened to deteriorate. 

Starr
  
Like a couple of years later, you were like, oh, I wonder what happened to little timmy and see a google him and he's dead. Uh huh. 

Josh
  
Yeah. Four little timmy. Mhm. Yeah, there's um I unfortunately I think a lot of my old client projects are in that category, but I think that's just kind of the way it goes. 

Ben
  
But you know, I remember the primary struggle that we had the with the ones that didn't, one that weren't reported means I was like, what do we do with it now? Because we like to building new things, but we didn't really like running them, you know, we didn't wanna be on the hook. And so it was like, it's great, you have this new app go enjoy, right? And they're like, yeah, but you know what about something breaks? It's like, oh, well, good luck, you know? Yeah, I 

Josh
  
was thinking about that recently, like, like does that still fly? Like what do people do these days? Like, I don't know. 

Ben
  
I would like to know 

Josh
  
if you have a non technical, like, I don't like, to be honest, um you had a knack for like finding those people that seem to been because like, you find these people that are just like nontechnical. They they just have an idea like, you know, they're like, like Star said, like the whatever facebook facebook for X people, but like, they just have you just build it for them? And then yeah, they would kind of just be like, now I'm I'm like, I'm a tech founder now, 

Starr
  
can I tell a funny story about um So I used to live in Tulsa Oklahoma is where I went to college and live there for a little while after and one day I was at like a local coffee shop and there was this guy who actually, I saw a couple times at the coffee shop who just um was chatting up the brief, such adding up everybody around him about this app idea. He had um called the love button, which is just, oh my God, like that, that name, but it's called the Love button. And uh basically it's not, it's not a dating app though, which is like, you know, you're winning when you have to explain that your product name isn't what people think it is originally at first glance, it's not a dating app. It's a uh 

Starr
  
it's about like you can put in like what do I love to do? I love carpentry so I can press the love, but you have to press it, it's important. And then it um he didn't say this, but I was sort of imagine like a slot machine type, you know, spinning type thing, like whirling and then it pops up the people nearby you who also love that thing so you can stalk them. Uh huh 

Ben
  
uh huh. I was with you right up to that Stockport. 

Starr
  
I mean, well, I mean that's I had at that part, but I mean, it's like we've seen what happens to the internet, we've seen having to go, 

Josh
  
it just like has their contact information. Like it's a 

Starr
  
yeah, it's just, it's like, it's a way for, yeah, it's a way for people to have uncomfortable interactions. So it's like, 

Ben
  
it's like chatroulette but in real life, 

Starr
  
in real life. Yeah, I'm just sitting there like why the hell would anybody ever consent to that ever? But maybe I wasn't the target market, you know, 

Ben
  
mm maybe, maybe not just trying to think. You definitely want to involve a map of nearby welded locations for people to meet up. 

Josh
  
Maybe you just don't love anything enough to press the button. Yeah, maybe you like really have to be into something 

Starr
  
and then it just shames you. It's like, hey, what's the matter? 

Josh
  
I mean like to be fair like craigslist exists and like people, people do like respond to all kinds of things on craigslist and I'm sure are not in well lit locations. So you know, maybe this, maybe this love button app has like a, you know, has like a pivot or something. 

Starr
  
Yes, I mean, I don't know, maybe he was going to pivot it to grinder, who knows? 

Ben
  
Yeah, Well, you know, another option to just building apps would be buying apps right? We could hang out on micro require and, or flipper or someplace and uh, you know, for these for these developers who built the thing and don't want to run it. You can just buy it and then we can run, 

Josh
  
no, I think there's, I think there's probably something there potentially for us because we, we have some of the experience now that maybe they don't, they didn't um, you know the people that someone that just build something to a certain point. So, and we have a marketing engine so we could potentially like acquire something and then plug it in to our existing systems. So that could be fun. Like, you know, I mean like this is like instead of, you know, like, like I got a friend in construction and him and his dad like flip houses, you know, like that's the, the thing they do but are, are flipping houses is like flipping flipping SAs apps I think because you know, that's like our, maybe someday you'll be um flipping saps with your, with your boys. But 

Ben
  
mm hmm. Uh huh. We'll have a show on tv about that, you know, let's take it to the next level. Instead of just buying zaps and flipping it. Let's, let's get investors. Let's get some, some, some of the partners up in here and we can use their money to go buy the apps and then we'll run them for a while. Then maybe sell them. Then we can be like those cool kids that are out there like buying all these as apps and doing the investment thing, right? 

Josh
  
Yeah, I like it. These are good ideas 

Starr
  
are private and private equity firms. The cool kids. Yeah. Yeah. I guess I guess you're right for some value of cool, right? 

Ben
  
If you ask the private equity firms, they will say yes, they are the cool kids. 

Starr
  
Yeah. 

Josh
  
There's a lot of new types of private equity these days. It seems 

Josh
  
okay. Yeah. We need to take stuff. 

Ben
  
Yeah exactly. Take advantage of this new micro pipeline like you know, tiny seed and calm fund, right? We need to, we need a pipeline like okay, those are the feeding into the pipeline and then we do some magic somewhere along the process, right? And then outcomes bigger companies and we make money somehow. It's kind of funny but I think we can make it happen 

Starr
  
if you just took all those platforms up to each other in a circle, you get uh infinite motion machine, right? Oh. Mhm. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger until somebody goes to jail. 

Josh
  
I thought you got like an R. Burrows. So I hear you pronounce that the snake eating its own tail. 

Starr
  
Yeah. 

Ben
  
Or we could go in a completely different direction. I saw a tweet from Patio  this morning where he was uh he was referencing a tweet from sweaty startup and if you don't, if not familiar sweaty startup, you really got to go check that out because that's, that's some cool stuff. Like he hangs out and read it, his cool beans. We'll put some links in the show notes if you can check it out. But somebody started up dude uh he bought like a storage company, self storage company and like applied software to the process because like they were still like, you know, pushing paper around or whatever. It was old school and then really like juice that business and made it pretty cool investment and so 

Ben
  
thinking, yeah, we could, we could do that, we could go, we could go old school and get all these old school businesses that are not online and apply our our marketing juice and 

Josh
  
tear it up. I'm down to buy like a brick and mortar. Yeah or something. Um Just first of all though, you can't introduce what the startup guy as sweaty startup guy. He's the tomato guy right? Like this is the guy that was like trying to sell like it was like bragging about how he could like whatever like like grow a tomato farm to like a billion dollars. But he 

Ben
  
was sweating startup guy before he was tomato guy. 

Josh
  
Well because that was, you don't start that was an epic troll. Did you did you catch that at the end? Like it's it's pretty amazing like. Yeah, it turns out that guy really like that. Really not like he knows his shit apparently. And I mean like probably also know like I'm like having like followed him a little bit like seen some of the things he said like I might be inclined to like listen to him on the tomato thing, 

Josh
  
Maybe I can make a fortune of tomatoes, you know. Mhm. 

Ben
  
Mhm. As long as you don't live in Seattle where it rains nine months out of you. 

Ben
  
Yeah, no sweat. He started like I've been following him on Reddit for the longest time and I just love, obviously not every idea is genius, right? But I do love his approach. Like get in there, do the work, do the work that other people aren't willing to do or that people are just haven't really caught on to yet. Like one of his, one of his classic things is like just go start a pressure washing company right? Go knock on your neighbor's doors and see if they want their driveway pressure washed and then and then pressure wash it right? And then you do that and you get some gaming experience and you provide a quality service and lo and behold now you've got a business, right? So I think I just like his his ethos of just go in there, 

Ben
  
do the work and try to make it happen as opposed to right, You know. Mhm. Sit back and complain or whatever. You know, it's just kind of like the I just like that I would 

Josh
  
I would hire that person by the way um because I could use some pressure washing like the moss around my house is just out of control 

Ben
  
really. Again pacific northwest Yeah, 

Josh
  
you know that's pretty cool. Um And I like the just the thought of like I mean they're so it feels like there's so many um little I mean there's so many business problems out there that are in the real world that will they need a software solution and um will eventually happen. Um It just like it seems like in order to solve those problems you have to have some sort of like actual like proximity to the problem. So like maybe the way to like get into those problems is just to go out and start doing more stuff in the real world and see where you know like see where the pain points are. 

Ben
  
So you're saying if you want to build software for dentist you've got to become a dentist. 

Josh
  
Yeah. I don't know like at least like yeah work it in reception or something or have a lot of cavities just go like do stuff for oh yeah, just be a repeat customer for this. 

Ben
  
Yeah. Yeah. I just I just love how there's so many ways to make money on the internet. It's amazing. 

Starr
  
Yeah but the sai buri opportunities are long gone. That started a long time ago unfortunately. 

Josh
  
I think we'll see more. We'll definitely see more internet scams in the future though. So hope is not lost. 

Ben
  
You mean like thank goodness. 

Josh
  
Oh shots fired. 

Josh
  
I like I really want to see just like a like a smart contract. MLM. I mean like I think there might be something out there, but like, I want to see one. I just want to see one succeed, you know? Um 

Ben
  
Okay. You have to, you have to be the change that you want to see in the world job. Uh huh. That means you have to do it yourself. 

Josh
  
I know. I don't know if I can, I just don't understand that world. Like, I don't know. Like, I'm sure I could go like build, yeah, like comprehend the technology. But I just, I don't know. I'm just not motivated to at all. Like I've kind of tried a little bit, but 

Ben
  
yeah. Yeah. I'm still the old guy shaking fist at cloud stage of N. F. T. S. I'm like, I don't get it. Get off my lawn. Yeah. 

Josh
  
Well, there will be something there. I'm sure the FTS necessarily just in, in the, in the technology in the future. 

Ben
  
But my one of my sons who's really into tech and keeps on top of these things every time I say N. F. T. He's like money laundering. I think that's a really Matic response. It's like, well, okay, I'll trust you 

Josh
  
get that kid. A twitter account. 

Ben
  
Yeah. That's, that's interesting. Things like my kids not into facebook, not into twitter, you know, there's not 

Starr
  
social network for old. Tiktok 

Ben
  
absolutely hate Tiktok. Yeah, It's like, it's the opiate of the masses. It's like, well, okay, that's technically. True. 

Starr
  
Yeah. I don't know. I really like to talk. It really depends on like, where um like what like you follow and all that. It's, you know, it's just like twitter and that really? 

Josh
  
Yeah, yeah, I, I signed up for a Tiktok account recently just to check it out and see like what, where the rabbit holes go and um kind of scared me a little bit, but I mean maybe that's because I was like trying to see how bad it was versus how good it was. So maybe I should do a different experiment where like, I only 

Starr
  
like the trick is to take on cat videos or whatever trick is to like follow the things that you like and then you'll get more of those and all the things you don't like, you'll get more of those, 

Ben
  
yep. So you said it was scary was more or less scary than kid Youtube. 

Josh
  
Uh I haven't really, I don't know like, I mean just the whole idea of Kid Youtube is scary, so it might be just different kind of different things, but just like the algorithm, like the algorithmic bubble that Tic Tac seems to create. Like, I mean, all of these, all of those services have that, but like maybe it's because like the videos are so short and there's so many like strangers that you can end up following or whatever, but it just seems like you could like someone who doesn't understand how that works, could easily end up in some sort of like alternative universe. Uh you know, Yeah, yeah, again, I have 

Starr
  
used as um I don't know, it's interesting to me because it's like much more than other, much more than other services. You can really see the algorithm at work. Like be like, okay, you're, you're like testing me to see if I like this um carpentry videos where people take these very expensive, expensive looking hand planes and then like play like take minute lee thin shavings of very expensive looking wood. Um So you watch the whole video, so I'm gonna give you like three more of those. We're gonna see how you do on those. And um and then like sometimes it gives you things that you're just like, nope. So it's like, I just don't want the algorithm just just see that I'm watching this, so I'm just not even gonna try. 

Josh
  
Yeah. You have to like, you have to tend to tend your algorithm. Yeah. But in order to do that, you have to understand that that's what you're doing. I think we're in a good position to do that. Yeah, 

Starr
  
But also just like the tactic, the tactic, What am I saying? The content on Tiktok? I think it's in my brain, it's I'm just nothing I say is like everything I say is it's going to become some variant of Tiktok um the content I found it's like, I don't know, like, I I and much happier, like looking at Tiktok because it's like you know, I don't know, I guess I'm just looking at happy or content. The 

Josh
  
content is so like the whole like the niche aspect of the content, like you said, like the narrowest type of video, like, like a hobby but where people are like, you know like whatever creating very thin strips of wood and there's some sort of like, you know, just like they can feed you very specific types of videos to see like and then you can get into that like specific like subset of like whatever woodworking video. It's not you're not even into woodworking at that point. You just ended this like very like Misha part of it. 

Starr
  
Yeah. I don't know. That's well, see I'm sure I'll get bored bored with it eventually. 

Josh
  
I don't think you will. 

Starr
  
You know, it's ever renewing stream of just 

Josh
  
delicious content. I trust trust algorithm, you trust, 

Starr
  
I trust in the algorithm to josh to 

Josh
  
keep you to keep you engaged. Yeah. Yeah. 

Starr
  
Okay um you all have been listening to another episode of founder quest if you want to um review us on apple podcast or whatever it's called these days, go for it. Um You want to write for our blog and we've got to write first page on there at honey badger to I  slash blog um scan for the right for us link, that's your first assignment. Um Until yeah. Until then. Um See you later. 


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