Here's the Back Story
I tell some back story and set the stage for how I got going in 2016.
Loren Winzeler: [00:00:00] Hi welcome to episode two of mileposts. This is Loren Winzeler. I'm your host for this podcast, for this monologue. This is a backstory episode. I fell in love with the concept of a software as a service or SaaS company as a bootstrapping opportunity, back in 2016, it was primarily in the summer 2016.
[00:00:25] I had been pursuing side projects, from about 2013 to [00:00:30] 2015 in the local marketing lead generation and other online marketing spaces when I stumbled on Dan Martell's idea to exit program. this wasn't the first information product or coaching program in that space that I had seen, but it was the first that spoke to me. I had listened to a podcast like mixergy not so much, at that time, startups for the rest of us, or the MicroConf tech community. I got into that later.
[00:00:57] That would come later. but the [00:01:00] Martell program and a lot of what he was talking about spoke to me since it was a lot on product as well as fundraising and, you know, team building, it was not so much focused on product from a technical perspective. So, I do have, a kind of an embarrassing story about that particular program in 2016 and my attempt to travel to Canada, to go to the live presentation, and I'll have to tell that story in a future episode. [00:01:30] It's awful embarrassing. Let's put it this way, has to do with passports. nothing like canceling a flight the day before the flight because you realize you're not going to be permitted in the country.
[00:01:40] But, in any case, all in good humor. I had experienced making websites, some WordPress experience, even some .NET experience using an old legacy out - dated, product called .NET nuke. Or DNN. it's a framework from the early two thousands. I built a website in DNN on windows [00:02:00] hosting back in 2010 from my mortgage company and that ran for about five years with no problem.
[00:02:06] I had tinkered with WordPress at a high level, starting back in 2013 but it was not until 2016 that I actually entertained the idea of getting back into the techie side of software and the software world itself. I'd previously previously given up on that dream. I kinda traded my computers metaphorically.
[00:02:26]... You see, I'd taken a shot, kind of a big shot back in [00:02:30] 2000 - 2003 at the tail end of the .com boom, and lost big. I was, still stinging from that for years, but financially and other reasons, it took probably three to four years just to recover financially. I had been working really low wage jobs and commission type jobs afterwards.
[00:02:50] And I'll tell a little bit more about that story another time , but fast forward back to 2016, I had started to play with, with [00:03:00] various projects online. June, 2016, I actually bought a custom coded website written in PHP for text and SMS broadcasting. it was written in PHP, MySQL and it used Twilio's API.
[00:03:14] so honestly, this was kind of a practice project. I was spending most of my time still working on a FSBO real estate project. ...Which I'm still working on to this day. but I wasn't coding on that project. It was more research trying to talk [00:03:30] to customers and so forth and architecting what it would be.
[00:03:34] I was still working as a mortgage loan officer and branch manager for my mortgage company in 2016. this project, it was called Textgorilla.com. kind of a play on MailChimp, I didn't name it, it was only $500 to actually purchase this online. It was totally bespoke.
[00:03:53] But it was a good test for me for managing a product online. It was written in PHP, which I actually had no experience with at that [00:04:00] time. At that time, it was API driven, had Stripe billing, integrated and Twillio. So it was good way to test that, test my skills, and try to get back into products. Now the product itself was total commodity, text broadcasting for small businesses.
[00:04:17]You know, it was not something that was easy or sellable or people were looking for necessarily. but it was a catalyst to learn. And, it was also kind of a dangerous gateway to buying abandoned [00:04:30] projects. Cause in September, 2016, I would do it again. I would, in this case, I'd overpay. I think I paid about $4,000 for a PHP product, a PHP tool that was totally bespoke, totally written on its own. PHP Laravel, for website, website monitoring and website uptime monitoring, was another kind of broad, commodity type project. it would certainly over the following months have a hard time competing.
[00:04:58] the uptimer project, I'll [00:05:00] call it, had a soft spot because back in 2000, that big startup, it was angel funded a startup we'd done, gotten into application performance and capacity planning. But at the early earliest stages, my cofounder wanted to build just a, a simple performance monitoring tool online.
[00:05:20] And so we kind of initially argued about that. but we did end up starting with a brand and a tool called, my 24x7.com that [00:05:30] would provide performance and uptime monitoring. And, now my, my co founder wanted to build that simple tool and have it be a way to get going and get some customers and revenue.
[00:05:44] but as the startup matured, I pushed us increasingly into more complicated value propositions, to try to address, site speed. And resource consumption. And we can talk about my failures on that whole startup another time. But [00:06:00] suffice to say, the uptimer PHP laravel product, was me thinking that I understood that market.
[00:06:07]and I guess thinking that I had some unfinished business there as well. so despite the subsequent failures of buying and assuming these two failed, projects and essentially adopting them as my new pet failures, it felt great. I felt great to be mixing it up, playing, over on the server side SaaS and, you know, having products that can, [00:06:30] collect payments and Stripe and provide some value.
[00:06:34] Throughout the remainder of 2016 as well as 2017 through 2019. I would likely focus on two to three core ideas while taking detours to other ideas, other business models of their businesses themselves. But I ended up coming back to the same three ideas while not trying to destroy, too much savings, in the process.
[00:06:59] Well. [00:07:00] That is, enough backstory for now. I don't want to be too boring for you guys, too much of this at the start, but hopefully you get some context for things going forward. In the next episode of mileposts, it'll be an update episode a first update. I'll talk a little bit about what I'm actually working on and doing and we'll pick up from, from 2016 on afterwards.