12 – Covid Pivot! From rides to sanitizers with Andy Didorsi
I invited Andy Didorsi, because for as long as I have known him, when everyone is zigging he is zagging. As a serial “this is what the world needs, let’s make it happen” person, he has constantly been told no, not yet, only if you, and still finds a way through.
On the “side”, he is the head marketing officer for Basecamp and Hey (their new amazing email service).
When Covid “arrived”, I saw that he had pivoted his business within a few short months. He asked himself would I get on a bus right now? With bills and employees to pay, what do people really need right now? What would be useful?
From the Detroit Bus company, (TOM style providing a ride for a ride) into an FDA approved sanitizer provider (bottle for a bottle), Arsenal of Clean was born.
AoC, donates thousands of gallons upon gallons of sanitizer to frontline workers and other people in need.
As well as ‘chemisting’, managing Paper Street, a small business incubator in Ferndale for the little guy who finds it hard to get space to work, he is part of 59 people Basecamp. Spread worldwide, they were doing remote since 1999.
They vote with their dollars and are against the creepiness of tracking their customers. If you’re looking for a makes-common-sense yet hadn’t existed until now email service, Hey, is your place to go for real privacy and oh my gosh, I’m saying it , emails becoming fun again.
In our conversation Andy and I talk about:
- A no is not always a no
- How to be useful
- What it takes to 180 pivot your business - how Arsenal of clean was born
- Grabbing footholds with dear life and growing that position
- How to stay sane during Covid
- How to stop getting in your own way to ship and put your ideas out into the world
- How cool the email service Hey is!!! (I’m a big fan).
Getting in touch, supporting and learning more about Andy
You can reach him on Twitter and Instagram both at @ThatDetroitAndy
Learn more about Andy : https://thedetroitbus.com/andy-didorosis-story/
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*This Transcript is Autogenerated
Andy. Well, welcome to the show. I'm so happy that we had time today. How are you doing? It's good. It's good. Uh, I have this like, um, little monster of anxiety in my back, which is a global pandemic, but, uh, other than that, but with that caveat, I'm good. Just that little thing. That snippet that, Oh, well, let's get right into it.
You pivoted your business completely when the pandemic hit. , and I'm really stoked about it. Actually. I made my first purchase just a week ago. I'm so excited. I'm so stoked. I'm so stoked. Okay. And so, uh, it was, it was, I was, but the thing is, is that I was not at all surprised to see you pivot your business because for as long as I've known you, this has been a continuous theme.
So, um, will you share with our listeners what you're up to with regards to that business? Yeah, of course, um, you know, my business for the last 10 years or so has been the Detroit bus company. And the second you hear that it's sort of a bus company, you realize that it is not in demand during, uh, the time of COVID.
So we, um, you know, we normally do like weddings and. Um, you know, company outings and bar tours and history tours. And we use some of the profits from that to pay for free rides for kids at school and after school programs. And all of that that's canceled all the time. Ours are close, the weddings are canceled, the schools are closed.
Um, and so we quickly went from being very busy, seven days a week to having zero buses out, um, which again, hasn't happened in a decade. And so, um, it was a bummer. I mean, I, I. I was shocked by it. Like everybody else, it, it came so quickly too, because, because we were seeing all this in the news. Uh, but there wasn't much leadership going on.
And then the state sort of took a wrangle on it. You know, our, our governor, governor Whitmer famously, um, you know, closed down the state hard and it, it, it was good for Michigan. Um, but you know, bad for small business. Uh, even though it was the right decision. So when it came time to, um, think about what to do, I mean, I still have friends, I have to pay, I have employees.
I have. Uh, insurance and all this, all this wonderful stuff that costs money every month. So, um, I was looking to see how we'd be successful. I looked into rather I was looking more into how we could be useful. I mean, successful to me is just making sure the bills are paid. You know, breaking even is, is fine enough during something scary, like covid So we looked into what it would take to build a massive factory, uh, like 5 million. Uh, we looked at what it would take. Yeah. Make like a rolling bodega, it groceries to people. Uh, and we found the logistics of that were very hard. Just making sure that the food is kept safe and we get people what they want.
You know, that's not an easy one and it's just within our means. Um, but so many people say they couldn't get hand sanitizer, you know, they just couldn't get this very. Boring normal thing that, uh, we took for granted before. Like it was just sort of like nerdy people and like helicopter moms that bought hand sanitizer, you know, like, and it was just everywhere as like, you know, a dollar for a giant bottle.
Um, and quickly that changed people were feeling very afraid and anxious. They didn't have access to this thing to clean their hands out in the world. Know, they said that soap and water was the number one thing to keep your hands safe and that's still true. Um, but if you work a service industry job or you're out in the field, or, um, you're one of the essential workers, you don't have the opportunity to go back to a sink, every, uh, you know, five or 10 minutes, you need this stuff.
So I look up the formula, uh, it's simple and it's four ingredients and they're all, um, they're all basic. Uh, getting some of these ingredients were really hard because the supply chain, the, the world fell apart. Um, getting the bottles is hard, getting the labels was hard, you know, but we worked through every problem and we found our way into being the FDA, , recognized, , hand sanitizer producer, which if you asked me that in February, that would sound like the craziest thing.
Just impossible. You know what? We're going to go from a bus company to a hand sanitizer company. Um, And then we're going to come out with other products. It just, it just, it just boggles my mind. Like I'm as impressed as anybody else that we were able to pull this off. Um, and there's been lots of other companies who've tried to make that switch and found that, um, you know, they were using, uh, bad ingredients or, um, they were, uh, you know, not able to keep up with the volume.
Um, you know, we make and ship thousands of gallons a week, um, which is just, uh, you know, it takes every fiber of our business to do that. So, um, I'm from a little bus company to a little sanitizer operation in a, in the course of a few months. And what is the company called? Uh, we made a brand for the company called arsenal of clean.
Uh, yes, Detroit was the arsenal of democracy through the world war two. Uh, you know, we produced all this stuff that helped us. When the war, you know, and there's a lot of baggage in that. I'm not saying it's like, we're not trying to make it sound like it's tanks and guns and stuff. But, um, I liked the idea of Detroit, um, powering up its it's production, mojo to, um, produce solutions for this issue.
You know, we've got general motors making, uh, ventilators. We've got, um, Detroit denim, which is a really successful Jean company, making masks. Um, we've got, uh, um, you know, small shops, like my friend's tee shirt and tie shop. She's making masks. Um, and, uh, you know, the, our bus company is part of that fabric.
Uh, we, we had to do what we had to do, you know, we wanted to, we wanted to back and say that we did something. We did the best that we could. Um, and so we, we donate thousands of gallons to, uh, you know, this is a bottle for bottle, um, which is our company. Detroit bus company does ride for ride wherever every ride we sell, we provide a ride for free.
And so, um, our soul clean does the same thing. It's just, we're an , we're a, like a Tom shoes. Style company. So I just want to carry that through it. It didn't feel right only providing sanitizer to the people that can afford this, you know, arguably very expensive, um, thing. Uh, we want to make sure if you couldn't afford to purchase it, that you could, um, you know, get it from us through a nonprofit.
Yes. And I remember seeing on Instagram that you were donating gallons and gallons and gallons of this salmon, Fraser, which you know, was actually fantastic. And I love the irreverent, um, kind of tone to the brand. I just feel like it's a re I mean, I feel like totally. Uh, and, um, I don't know if you've heard of this band, uh, who gives a crap.
It's so awesome. It's a, it's a it's toilet paper it's called, who gives a crap and they package every single one of them. And it has like amazing copywriting. And, um, it's made out of bamboo and each toilet paper that you buy, like basically goes to creating toilets and other parts of the world, you know?
So there's this just, you know, this, this virtuous cycle to it. Um, so one thing I'm really, I'm so impressed by, with. I just am. I just love that. You're like, yeah. And so then we decided to, and like, I really feel like that's a track record that you have, like, how did you, like what made you decide to shift?
Because there are so many companies that are refused to. The shift quite honestly, you know, like variety of reasons. It's too scary or do we really need too? And I've noticed that, you know, you, you're constantly finding loopholes, you know, like even with the bus company, like the story that you told me many years ago, it was that at first, everyone, you can't do this.
You don't have the right insurance and then you just. Managed to correct me if I'm wrong, put it as a policy bus originally to be able to get the insurance, you know? Yeah. Yeah. We were told by the insurance companies and they hate when I tell this story, but we were told by the insurance companies that, uh, when we do, um, you know, transportation from, you know, this street corner to that street corner, that's public transportation, and it would be millions of insurance.
You know, they just basically said like only public transit agencies that are insured by the state can do that. Um, I said, well, what about all these party buses everywhere? Like they're everywhere, you know? And like a lot of them are really crappy. And so like, obviously it can't be that expensive. Um, and they were like, well, yeah, if you're a private charter operator, it prescheduled transportation.
Uh, then it falls into this category, which is, you know, one, 100th of the cost, you know, it's 1% of the cost. And, um, I said, okay, well we're a party bus company. We go from this bar. In this city, it so happened to be in this corner to this next one. And this next one. And it's prescheduled because you buy a ticket on online or on your phone or whatever.
So you're pre reserving your seat and all of a sudden that's all the difference that takes it from public transit, you know, curbside where anybody can hop on with cash to this pre, uh, subscribed thing. And then we, we, we want it to be more accessible. So we had the free rides program. Um, We, uh, uh, sold, you know, for cash.
We sold passes that you could use to get on the bus. And, um, you know, once we had a foothold, then we found ways of growing and expanding, but, um, you have to like get your first few miles out. Are you through any means necessary? Cause then once you're operating, then you can, you can push a little bit further and you ask your person at the state, you know, you say, Hey, what if we this way?
And what have we, why don't we change it a little bit? And we. You know, well, if we're a nonprofit, then we can do this other stuff, you know? Cause then it's not for profit. And it just, You find ways to shuck and jive within that, within that space. But you kind of have to hang a shingle first , you have to I forgot who said this when you find traction, hold on for dear life, through any means necessary.
If you find that little foothold in this rock face, that is everything and do not let go. that is, that is all of it. and don't get so egotistical that you think like, Oh, this is nice, but I need to, I need to really do it this way. You know, I need to be a, I need to be an influencer and a blogger, and I want to, you know, just like.
It's cool tone. A little thing that is working, you know, like it's really cool. And I think, I think people take that for granted, you know, So constraints a constraint is like, is, is the mother of creation. Yeah. You know, but she was just constrained, right? Like nobody's sits back and says, Hey, like, uh, you know, uh, I'm going to limit my ability so that I have this wonderful thing called constraint.
Um, but conversely, like how many, like, Rich kids. Do you know that just turned out to be just jerks or worthless? You know, like we, we had like a very, very wealthy kid who, um, who I went to high school with. His name was all over this big prominent local business. Uh, and, uh, he got caught over and over again for selling drugs at school.
Cool. It's just like, what are you doing? You know, like, and if he didn't have that kind of money and he was going to this nice school, like, I. I don't know you would have ended up in that situation. You just needed some kind of like excitement or something. I don't know what it is. It certainly wasn't money.
Um, and it was just a dumb way to go about it. Whereas like some people who have nothing are so innovative, you know, like so creative and find ways of using like construction scraps and, uh, you know, giveaways and stuff from like habitat for humanity and make, like, I just went through a, an urban farm this morning that it's made with all found stuff and it rules like, it just, it's just inspiring, you know?
Um, But the other thing I'd say about COVID, like the now time is that the default for your organization is death. you don't have the luxury of sitting still because if you do nothing and this is not going away anytime soon, if you do nothing, you're just out of business, you'll just slowly bleed out capital until you're done.
So once you're already dead, You don't have much fear because it, everything that you do is hopefully further away from that reality. yeah, it's, it's scary to change. It's scary to define new things but that's, that's what I needed to do to be proficient in this space was go and learn.
Um, I have so many manuals on this desk over here, uh, from Dow chemical and, uh, you know, the USDA era, the FDA, and, um, Uh, the world health organization, I just consumed everything I could find because like, I was basically building a new company in the like broken pile of the old one, you know? Um, and I hope to start running buses again, but there's no promises.
I mean, when you get on a charter bus right now to go on a bar tour, like probably not, I wouldn't. Right, right, right. So the assumption of death, and then from there, like, Hey, I got nothing to lose. You know, like, that's like, let's go, let's go do this. And then the other thing I'm hearing from you is just getting really like, down into like, expertise.
Like what can you consume to kind of get that traction? Yeah. I, I, I contend still that the internet, greatest innovation, uh, greatest inner integration, uh it's the internet is the greatest innovation of our age, of course. But the way that we apply that I think is kind of, um, uh, Sort of hidden right now.
Like we, we joke about like, Oh, everybody's an expert, they've got you YouTube and this and that, but it's kind of true because on YouTube, you have this medium where you're able to get across. Um, enough information. You're showing examples, the production value is very low. You know, you just take a GoPro and like film something, but all of a sudden, because of YouTube, you can fix almost any car.
I mean, if you search, you know, 2008 Ford Fiesta, it's a bad window motor. There's like a guy or a girl who like, did that exact thing and shows you exactly how to do it. And that's like a mind meld. That they're able to export that how to, to a person so they can do this thing that was previously very difficult to, like, you had to take a lifetime to learn how to be a good, uh, mechanic.
And now, like you can do that. These sort of easier things just by following the steps, like assembling Ikea furniture. Same thing with a hand sanitizer business or, um, you know, uh, how to market better or, um, There's just such a wealth of knowledge to stand on the shoulders of people , who've done this thing before the generosity of humans is just, it's just stunning that people spend so much time to capture these learnings in a way that it's exportable.
Um, and that we have these systems that lift this knowledge up so that you can find the best one, um, to do that certain thing, you know, and bad information. Uh, I, I think on a long enough timeline gets filtered out, you know? Um, I think it, it, it, it goes away. Um, we have kind of an immune system for bad information.
It just doesn't get shared. It doesn't get liked, you know, it doesn't get viewed. Um, So like, yeah, I think it's been, it's been, it's an extraordinary experience building the sanitizer business this, but, um, I don't think it's, um, uh, some special innate ability or skill that I have. I think it's just, um, a product of how many awesome resources we have available to us now.
Um, and when I needed expert help, I had a, I posted on Facebook. Hey, I need an industrial Kevin. Like I need one today. Um, I have this big question about how to make a, how to make a stable gel. And I'm a friend of a friend connected me to the lead chemist at his company. He works at, and we had a conversation for half an hour.
I mean, I, I, I found a chemist in another country to talk about, uh, how to make, uh, gel compounds, uh, safely and efficiently. And like, that's amazing, you know, the, the, just the relationships that we get out of this. Um, so if you're not, if you're not, if you're not innovating, if you're not pivoting mean it's probably not because of the resources you have available.
I mean, it's probably not due to a lack of information cause it's out there. It, it might be something inside, you know, I've found myself in the despair of COVID frequently and I still have, I'm not saying it's all roses. , this is, a bummer, you know, but I think if you wanted it, you can do it, you can do it.
So what, what do you think like, like for people who are like, they haven't really, you know, bought over the, got over this, but like they're holding themselves back in terms of shifting out their businesses, you know, like what, what do you think would be helpful for them? And what advice would you have on, you know, for many of your learnings.
Well, I mean, it's kind of like, um, I like Apollo 13, you know, they like broke the air filter and they needed to find a way. Using like plastic bags and tape and a glove to make a new one. Um, you just kind of look at all the pieces you have on the proverbial table, you know, um, if you own a certain business, so you've got tools, you've got maybe space, um, you've got relationships, like you've got like things that you do.
Um, and, uh, you should find a way to maybe use those to, to be it impactful, to do something that people need. Nowadays, which isn't just this sort of, you know, utility stuff. It's not all them about masks and, um, sanitizer disinfectants. Like there's so many people moving into that space and doing that thing that, um, it's pretty busy intersection, but people need entertainment.
Like they need to be, um, they need to have their spirits uplifted, you know, they need. Um, uh, activities, they need things to share with their children that just think about anybody. Uh, who's under this, uh, house arrest, like what do they need and want? Um, and we, we shouldn't seed all of the. E-tail and, uh, um, you know, kinda 10 stuff to like Amazon and Netflix, like there's, there's plenty for us to do as individuals that we can and impact in our own community.
You know, most of our sales of course have been in Detroit and Michigan. Like if you look at the, the map that radiates out from where we are, so people who are closer to us are more likely to purchase what we do. So, um, Provide for your own community. You know, you don't need to be this global sensation day one you can provide for just your immediate area. Um, Or conversely, like maybe you maybe you're just burned out and you don't want to do any of this. You've got enough of capital that you can pay the rent or you got it. I'm going into turtle mode is not shameful. Like, um, I've considered a number of times, uh, you know, mothballing the best that we can, uh, Ending responsibilities that we have as far as like bills for certain things, you know, most day your internet service provider will suspend your bills for awhile.
I'm like just go into Herman mode and, and come out in Tobar, you know, like that is a very valid thing. Not everybody needs to, um, you know, try to climb this mountain, like, um, Uh, and especially if you have a, a capital intensive resource, heavy business that, um, is just not in demand right now. Um, turtle mode is, is pretty attractive.
So that's, that's an option too. I love that. I want to teach that that says that I can just aspire to be in touch.
That's real. I mean, burnouts, I, you know, I, if you're looking at the video right now, I gotta like tired look on my face. It's just, um, we're all working seven days a week right now. And, um, the hardest part of this is the mental game, the physical game, you know, the, the body. Um, you know, I'm really crappy, uh, it, it eating the right stuff.
Like I'm drinking cold brew right now instead of water. Um, like we're all, we're all on super overdrive right now, even if we're just holding up on. Um, and so like that, I think that's, that's the thing that I need to, to learn more about and do better, um, is take care of the self and, uh, this is not complicated.
It's water it's sleep. It's food that won't kill you. You know, like those three things do that little exercise, you know, but it's very easy to put that on the, on the side when you feel like everything is an emergency. You know, when you feel like everything is a four alarm fire, those are the first things you throw out, you know, like you're like, you kind of Genesin those.
Cause they feel like they're using up your valuable time. But, um, this is not a sprint, you know, we are in the longest marathon of our lives right now. How are you managing that? Like I know, like on your back, literally like your backyard, quote unquote, you've got like a little river, right. You'd be doing, you know, I think the other day, you know, you race calls, so you got some of your adrenaline out doing that.
Like what, what are you, what are you up to? Well, I mean, I, um, I do all that stuff, you know, the canoes and car racing and, and whatever, and those are fun, but those. Still take energy. They still have like an energy deficit. Um, I found like the things that have been best for me have been the most, um, like.
Plain, uh, you know, like right now I'm listening to like the Anthony Bordain audio book and just like hearing of a time when there's there were restaurants, um, you know, I'm, uh, trying to go to bed at 11 o'clock like these are, uh, These don't feel like big things. They're kind of the most obvious, but, um, right now in this time, when everything is upside down, these plain things are maybe the most revolutionary, um, you need to recharge.
And it is such a, I struggle to put down the phone, you know, stop doom scrolling, uh, and just go to bed on time, get up at a reasonable hour. You know, I've deleted all the social media apps from my phone. There's none of them on here. I blocked all of the browser. Um, URLs for social media apps, because my reptile brain wants me to, um, you know, when I delete Facebook is go to facebook.com in the browser.
Um, that's blocked, uh, because it didn't bring me anything. It didn't have any, um, uh, utility to me. I never once was like, Oh, I'm so glad I opened up Instagram and scrolled for 45 minutes. Uh, uh, you know, bless Instagram. I've never felt that once in my life. Um, and so it had to go, you know, that jettison, that kind of crap.
Yeah. Yeah. It's a simple things, right? It is. It's like a simple things that add up, um, that like we quote unquote know, but we haven't implemented yet. I mean, if you can chain all those simple things together, if you're, if you're some kind of superhuman and you can manage to. Drink enough water, eat the right food, go to bed time.
Um, practice of mindfulness. Like just like if you chain all these things together, you're going to feel like a million bucks, you know, and you can do pull that off for 90 days. You're going to be in just a totally different spot than you were before with no exterior changes. Like no, you know, no big business successes, no, you know, great job like, um, and I tell myself that every time that like, Yeah, doing any one of these things, like isn't going to be such a big change, but if I manage to do all of them and do them regularly, um, all of a sudden, like I'm doing myself a huge favor, you're, you're putting a lot of, uh, a lot of dollars in the future, Andy bank account, you know, to like do that.
So it's just an investment. Um, and everybody says this and the only things that sort of. Break out of that is, you know, Penn from Penn and teller talking about how he, you know, ate potatoes for 60 days straight or whatever. Cause it sounds right. It sounds revolutionary. And it sounds like so different from normal life that it must be better.
Um, and I've just, I've been through every fat. I've tried every stupid, you know, diet and process and meditation app out there. And it just, it just, it's just marketing. It's just all the same stuff, just in a fancy package. Uh, And sorry, there's no big shortcut. It's do all the boring things regularly, uh, and feel better daily.
I love that. And I totally, I totally agree with that. I absolutely it's. It's like, uh, like little incremental things I add up, you know, and even if I'm, even if I sit still for two minutes, you know, and gratitude for one minute, like I find my 11 o'clock. If I haven't done that, I notice a difference. You know, there's like, I would invest seven minutes of my morning and at one point I'm like, Hey, does this make a difference?
And then, yeah. And the show 10 30, 11. I was like, Oh, I feel weird now. Like, it doesn't feel as good. Well, okay. Let's just continue it. So, uh, and I think people think that like when they get into something and they need, you know, like I'm going to meditate for 30 minutes, I'm going to do this for an hour.
And it's just, it's just too much. It's too overwhelming. You know, just took the kickoff from. Yeah. Yeah. I'm super guilty of that. You know, whenever I start running again, I want to run like five miles, you know, and I want to do it today and I'm gonna do it tomorrow. Like I just, I think It's like a uniquely American thing to have this, um, you know, if I'm going to do this thing, I'm going to do it so hard.
That everybody's going to notice how bad ass I am at doing the thing . You're trying to make up for lost time. You're like, well, I've spent the last 33 years of my life, like slowly getting fatter, I'm going to fix it today. , and it took that long to. Uh, you know, develop the bad habits and stuff.
Give yourself some time to work on the good ones. Like it just you're, you're a, a big ship with a small rudder, you know, like it just it's, it just takes time to turn things around. Um, and I constantly run out of patience. You know, like I'm telling you this right now, I'm doing this thing where all week I've been trying to go to bed at 11 up at seven, you know, doing my best.
Okay. I promise you four days from now. I'm going to be up at two in the morning. It's just, it just. It just, I just will continue to fail over and over again. Um, but I'm just stubborn. I'm not going to give up on fixing that. Like, I want the benefits of sleeping better. That's just one example of a thing that I will probably just fail at over and over again for the rest of my life.
But, um, I just am too myopic to give up on that. What do you just like accept? Like, yeah, I just suck at this. Like I don't, I don't like that. I don't think that's, um, like a default state, like, Oh, I'm just bad at being healthy. Like it's not, that's not good, you know? We talked about like perfectionism and we're like, you like, okay, I just, I have all these projects and I just, I get going on them.
Like, I'm not worried about it being just right. And he'd said about that with the business too. Uh, and I've definitely been guilty of like postponing until quote unquote, I know enough, or, you know, et cetera. So can you share some perspective on that? Well, I mean, there's. Just different methods, right?
There's no single good one. Like somebody might look at my world and say like, You know, maybe you should take a minute to like reorganize a reset stuff like you should, you know, maybe do fewer things better and focus and that's not wrong. Like, I would have a different result if I, I did that. If I slowed down, if I focused on stuff, if I.
Chose one thing and tried to be like very, um, you know, very, very, very good at that. Um, but I found just through my life, if just by accident that I really like having a broad set of experiences and skills and thinking about how those different ones compound and the same thing with projects, you know, like, um, Right now we're working on like a very rich audio tour.
We're turning one of our tours for them company into a, like a walking form, like a digital form. Um, that is a very different and skillset then, uh, operating buses or do an in person tours or making hand sanitizer is like, It's all computer based. It's audio production. It's um, you know, telling stories in a way that sounds good.
And earphones, like we're like starting at scratch again on another thing. Um, but we said at deadline, we said by the end of next week, Whatever the tour is it's, it's hitting the internet and if it's great. Cool. That's awesome. If it sucks, well, it's still hitting the internet, you know, like, and so it's a clarifying moment that you get to think, okay, what do we really need?
And what do we not need? You know, do we need like a big one, any producer person? Like, that's cool, but like, you know, they're busy. We have to retain them and pay them and like, do all, you know, wait for them, get them back. Like, no, like. The alternative is we're going to record through the internet. We're going to talk to some people about the things.
Yeah. I want to talk about it, like put them up online and well learn from some stuff. Um, My, my hunches. I always want to make things perfect. And I want to keep them, uh, you know, in status because as long as you haven't published yet, you still have time to like futz with it and do it. And it's so much easier to have things sort of floating above your head, you know, in, in theory, and you get to feel that vague sense of satisfaction.
Um, the, uh, portion of it without any of the costs of failure, you know, or stress or the judgment, or, you know, just getting three views on whatever it is. Like, everything always tastes better when it's in the, the, like the ephemeral. Um, but I think, uh, uh, I think you okay, get your progress. You only get your cosmic points when you hit publish, you know, when, when you hit the road, um, So I continually have to fight against that impulse and also the impulse to micromanage the crap out of my team so that I get the result that I was thinking of in my head.
I mean, there's like value to vision. Um, but you just dramatically limit what you can put out. If everything needs to come through you and B come from your head, you know, like it doesn't really matter who had the idea. It matters if we package it up and get it out to the universe, you know? I feel like I'm seeing, you know, like when they raise money for a church, I feel like you have like a cosmic points kind of meeting, like in front of you.
This is like stuck. And you're like, yeah, yeah. I mean, like, you know, this week where we are a company that doesn't have any audio tours published, we've never published one before. And then at the end of next week, we'll we will be a company that has published an audio tour, you know, and the quality of what it is.
It matters. I want it to be good. I want people to enjoy it, but like, that's very subjective. You know, the quality of it, like that's it, you ask every person you're going to get a different piece of feedback on what quality really means for that piece. Um, some people really care about the storytelling.
Some people care about the audio quality. Some people care about the subject that you're covering. You know, what, what it really is like quality of the end of the day, but I can tell you for sure, that will be a company that has published. You know, and we'll continue to publish. And 99.9, you know, repeating companies and people can't say that they can't say we publish an audio tour, you know, um, you'll have a million folks who say, Oh, I had that idea.
Yeah. I like peanut with that. Um, Oh, I'm working on one. It's going to be so good. You know, just like all this, all this talk and all that, you know, just like. Save it, man. You know, like it there's, there's the folks that think about stuff and there's the folks that do stuff and like, you know, rarely to these to meet.
Uh, I know so many people who are the, like talking about ideas, fussing around with stuff. Seeking perfection. And I would bet good money that they don't publish a thing. They don't put out a thing. Like I, I would put up, you know, a hundred bucks into some betting pool. I want to bet against someone's productivity, but, uh, that's, that's not kind, but I will say that, like, I can, I can tell you pretty accurately the folks who I know are all talk and the folks that are, um, gonna continually hit the ground with stuff.
And keep pushing out stuff, no matter what genre or medium it's in, they're just going to keep putting not stuff. And they're relentless and they're going to, they come up against harder failures, you know, those do, or people are also the ones that like have some dark moments because they, uh, they put themselves out there.
They, you know, they like put themselves against the marketplace or against, you know, the general public. Um, and they could get back, you know, bad feet or failure or broken leases, or, you know, you name it. I ended up back in their parents' house. Whereas the talkers always sort of existed this, um, you know, pre success moment.
You know, I'm just doing this thing right now because I'm working on X, Y, and Z. And. You know, 10 years later they're doing the exact same thing, you know, like they're still, uh, you know, they're great ideas. It's still just like right around the corner. Um, I'm only going to work selling insurance and other, you know, another couple months and then like the big idea hits, boom, I'm a millionaire.
Um, it just doesn't work that way. You know, it just doesn't and I, I kinda wish it did, but it doesn't. So like in your mind, is that like, are there any failures where you're like, Oh, is there such a thing as failure in your mind? You know, like, is it loving, like there is failure. Do you wanna tell us about either?
No, that, that whole thing, like, uh, you know, fail fast, fail often, whatever. That's all bullshit too. Like the, the, the truth is like your goal is to succeed. Like you do the thing does exceed, you know, um, And if you operate under this, like seeking failure auspice, uh, you probably won't do your best work.
Like you just like, you want to wear failure as a badge or, you know, have this like trail of broken startups behind you view. And that's somehow like an, uh, an admirable thing. That's not it Sandy better. It's just like, They're not related, you know, like all you have that you control is the before part, like right off to publishing the thing to the world, and then it's out of your hands and you're onto the next one.
And you should learn if you have mistakes, you had failures, you know, Um, you should learn from those, like have a post-mortem. Um, but you're just on to the next thing, you know, like, um, there was a guy, I always think of it. I'm not gonna name him because like, they, you know, I'm just see why, but like, I went to a film festival probably like 15 years ago, you know, I was what like 16 or 17.
And he published a film in this film festival and it was objectively terrible. It was a one out of 10. I mean, it was. So extremely bad. Um, and he was like an older dude, you know? And so in your hunch, there is like, Oh, this guy's just going to make, you know, these bad little films forever. And then eventually just like stop and retire or like, you know, he's, you know, like, uh, uh, late middle aged guy.
Like if he hasn't figured out films by now, is he ever going to meet him? Probably not. Um, that's just like, kind of like the crappy reptile brain thing. You just impulsively judge somebody with, um, I'll say like 15 years later, he's still making films way better. Um, you know, both like objectively. And, you know, like he's found more success in the space.
Um, but the thing I'll always remember from 15 years ago is that like, he put that film up there and he didn't give a shit what you thought about it. He did not care. Sure. You know, he wasn't up there like, Oh my God, I'm so sorry. Or like, um, you know, uh, concessionary or whatever. Helix stood there. And he was like, behold, my film.
And then it rolled and he was like, thank you, everyone. I you're so kind and like left the building, you know, like there's something in this guy that he is just like Bulletproof, you know, he just like doesn't care. And he came in, why did the data by sanitizer? And I'm like, how are you doing? And he's like, I'm doing it.
Yeah, I'm doing great. Like, he's just like, He's just not offended by it, you know? And like, I want that. I want to, I want to feel that thing lately it's like exude it, you know? Um, and that's the guy that's going to keep making films. He's just going to keep publishing these until the end of time. And like, you know, the planet will end and like his films will still stand.
They're still going to be there, you know? That bad little movie from 15 years ago is going to play on repeat somewhere on the internet forever. Um, whereas your idea that you have in the back of your head, that is so wonderful, um, it will not, it'll die with you. So, um, that dude, despite making a very bad film, uh, is winning, you know, he is like, He is in the top 100 filmmakers in Detroit because there's only a hundred, you know, or whatever.
Like, I don't care what that means. Like he's in the game and you're not, you know, he's in the game and you're not. So, so aside from pivoting your business, you also. Working with base camp and hae, correct? Yup. Right. So a lot of people won't know what Hey is. I'm in love. Like I am totally in love. I'm just, I'm besotted.
I am so besotted with this. Like I am, it's a game changer for me. I'm telling everyone about it. I'm telling everyone about your sanitizer and everybody about, Hey, and then when you do this, like walking thing, by the way, what's the walking tour called we're going to be fooled. We don't know yet. We're just making it, you know, Like we had had all these plans to buy this, like walking tour label app, and, um, design this stuff and have it global sort of plan to like, yeah, this is the first one, but we'll make all these other ones.
And I was like, you know, what's better than that. It's free. Like, just like, we're not going to charge for it. We're not going to pay anything to produce. Like the technology part of it, we're going to put it on this, like free sorta walking tours app. Um, because it doesn't matter, you know, like your launch, does it matter?
Nobody cares. I'm like, you're not Tesla. Like you're not playing that sort of like status game, you know? Like your first blog should be on like WordPress, like a free one or medium, or like just put it out there, you know, your podcast should, you know, Probably just publish that, you know, using some free, you know, use transistor and we'll just get it out there and no, one's gonna listen to it.
And that's fine. Like it just like, if you, if your metric is that you you're gonna put it out there and you're going to have some kind of result, you're just going to be disappointed. There's just no way that you're going to have that result. Um, To give yourself permission to do the next one, you know?
Right. Not how it works, you know? And that's like not a satisfying answer. It's, it's sort of like the end of the semester where like it's just black, uh, like no one liked that ending, but it was probably the best ending for it. Same thing with like being creative and productive. Is that like, you're gonna.
If you come with some kind of expectation about how it goes, um, there's a 100% chance you're going to be disappointed. Like it just, it just is going to happen, you know? Uh, and so if you can set yourself up so that any result. Is one in which you're happy with. If one friend listens to it and says like, this is a bad ass show, everything is gravy.
It's all upside, you know, um, expect to have zero outcome and then every view or listen or comment above that is all profit. Yeah. Like most all profit. Yes. I feel exactly the same way. Absolutely. I'm always pretty shocked when someone says they listened to the show. Amazing. Wonderful. Yeah, it feels good.
It feels good. It feels so good to do it. You know, that's the thing, like the intention is like I get, so let's take this as an example. I get to chat to you for this time. Like that is awesome for me and everything else. So I am stoked. Like I'm on fire right now. So I'm winning, you know, so, so going back to, um, Hey, Hey, Hey, as well.
Yeah. Yeah. So, so base camp is like this project management software. It's been around the, company's been around about 20 years. Um, and I've loved it, you know, a long time, but I've used it, uh, you know, probably close to 10 years. Like it's, it's rad. Um, it's unlike anything else out there. Uh, it's, it's become now sort of like a counterculture project management.
Tool just because like, there's so many people in that space now and they so look all identical, you know, most of our competitors, uh, you know, if you deleted the logo, you barely tell the difference between them. Whereas base camp stayed steadfast in what it values, which is like respecting people's time on your team, asynchronous communication.
Uh, Uh, you know, working under a, the benefits of trust, like mutual trust. Um, so Hey, is, is an email service provider that we made, um, that operates under a lot of those same things, you know, respecting your attention, protecting your privacy. Um, free email is not free, you know, when you sign up for that Gmail account or that Yahoo account.
Um, you are selling your private information to these companies. You know, they're reading your emails. I had, there's nothing. There's no other way to say it. They are reading your email, seeing what's going on in your life, selling you crap based on what's happening in your personal life. And that is. A crappy and evil.
There's just no other way to put it. Um, so like, Hey is 99 bucks a year and it does none of these things. You know, it doesn't invade your privacy. What's more, is it like, and this isn't a pitch. Like I, this is just like, I I'm. I'm always trying to unpack, like what makes base camp and hae, uh, uh, so different because, um, we sort of build stuff that we want to use and then work backwards into like how it's different, you know, just cause we knew that email was a chore.
It was just this terrible, overwhelming. Bummer of a thing and you really have to dig into why, you know, the why is that it's like a, to do list that other people can put stuff on, you know, like salespeople are, you know, stealing your attention, right? You have no choice in the matter. Um, you, uh, you know, are in this like endlessly scrolling thing that is just like, Never going to be resolved.
It only gets worse. The more successful you get or the longer you work and have the same address, like it's like this big rock of just rolling responsibilities and BS, you know, it by nature, it's less and less of your friends and family and people you want to hear from, and more and more just marketers and ads and stuff designed to look like things from your friends is actually just some sales ad from a dealer and company, you know, just like.
Rinse and repeat forever. And you just have to get off that conveyor belt. Um, so hey.com like the, the goal of it is to get you off that, to give your inbox back to your, um, you know, to your interests and what you want to do. Um, somebody sending you an email is not a contract, you know, just because some sales person, I mean, I, so I'm functioning right now as the head of marketing for base camp and Hey, um, the amount of pitches I get for ads every day is just.
I watering. And you know, you, if you're a people pleaser, you want to reply to all those, you know, you want to be kind quote unquote and get back to everyone and, uh, you know, make everyone happy and give them an answer. And it just takes cognitive load, you know, like, Uh, some very big successful website, you know, the big ad sales person reached out to me and, you know, they have an opportunity for me.
I didn't ask for that. I didn't want that. Like, it's not, there's nothing special about that. You're just trying to sell me if they, you know, don't do it under the auspices of some once in a lifetime offer. I promise you if I reached out to you a month from now and said, Hey, I want to do this. I would get some amazing mind blowing offer, you know?
Um, nothing is that urgent. Uh, and so I've been working out of hay since September of 19. Um, and I found it very enjoyable, you know, so like both with base camp and Hey, um, I'm just great. Um, I'm very happy to be able to share. The news on something that I believe in, I, you know, I've got plenty going on.
There's the bus company, there's a sanitizer, there's the nonprofit. Um, I had no reason to take a job. Um, but this opportunity came up, uh, talking about projects, um, and products that I really believe in that I think. Have, uh, like an archimedes' lever ability to like make our internet life so much better.
Um, and so I got invited to the team and it's like the Yankees ask you to play. You go, you go swing for the Yankees, you know, or the tigers rather, I should probably say, um, you just do it. So I've been doing that almost a year now. Um, And I don't know how my daily life works out every day, but it's somehow does to be a head of marketing and a small business owner, you know, it just does.
And that's the reason, one of the reasons I bring it up is because I am actually obsessed with hay and I have a habit of talking about things I'm obsessed about. And then the other part of it is like, when we talk about all the things about ditching protectionism, publishing things out there, I'm thinking about these people in big companies.
And, you know, obviously base camp is a larger company. So like what advice would you have for somebody who isn't a large company, you know, um, who is facing all these other stuff? Is this mindset or any tools that you found to be helpful? Um, you know, I would say one thing that I've learned that I need to continually relearn over and over again is that if I have busy work and bullshit in my day, it's 98% of the time.
It's my fault. And people sometimes try to like, cause play this like person of like a corporate person who does a thing, or like they're trying to posture in a way that they think their boss wants. Um, and you're just making your own health, you know, like you can shove off most of this busy work and if you're getting busy work from above that doesn't impact the thing you're trying to impact.
It's your responsibility to speak truth to power and say, this is just busy work. And I, you, I am de prioritizing the things that matter to do bullshit, and we need to stop doing that. And a good boss will look at that, uh, admonishment and say, I agree with you. I E you have well-reasoned logic. Um, you, uh, are trying to impact the things that matter.
You know, let's say it's users or widget sales or, um, uh, sentiment out there in the universe or, um, affordable clicks, whatever the hell your, you know, your like pot of gold is, um, and throw out all this stuff, you know, don't do the things like I get so many marketing things, right? Ads and emails and just all this stuff all day.
And I can tell you from the consumer side, they're not getting the result that they want from that, but the motion of producing all this chum, um, probably feels very productive on their side, you know? And when they fail, when they don't get the result they want, they go to their boss and say, well, but we did this.
And we did the team of 30 people in the L factory, continually making all this garbage. And, um, no one on either side wants it. The consumer doesn't want it. They're just in convenience. Maybe they get some sales out of this bullshit, but like, If they would have applied themselves, making something really helpful, they probably could have got a much greater result.
Um, so this long-winded thing is just to say, like, if you're feeling like you're drowning in busy work or BS, um, you probably made it for yourself. And if you didn't, you should push back on the people that made it for you. Um, if you have a bad boss, who's just a jackass and is not going to listen to the wild reason logic.
Um, I'm sorry. There's no answer for you. I mean, like, uh, you could just disobey orders and probably get fired. Um, you could, uh, do a wild cat move and try to do the right thing and then have the result come out and yeah, they look at you and say you took a risk. It worked. Um, but most, most cowardly crappy bosses.
Aren't going to look at any of that. And they're just going to look at the fact that you didn't do. The stupid busy work that they asked you to do and just fire you or like put you in some punitive position. So, um, if you have a crappy boss, you should just aspire to, I don't know, maybe try to get a better one.
Um, or just like a D I think the importance of work in your life. A world, you know, go in and do your 40, um, be a robot, uh, file for better jobs. Hope you get one. I mean, the, the, the fact is is that like, if you're in a crappy organization, there's not a ton you can probably do to influence that to be a better organization.
You just shouldn't be in search of a better one, you know? Um, that that's the best I can say about it. Like, uh, uh, uh, lots of folks are underneath. Just really garbage management, um, structures and company incentives and, uh, things they track KPIs that just don't make any, any logical sense in the real world.
It. It's like a, kind of a Christmas moment for a lot of people, you know, like coming through and really, I mean, this is like, I think this, because this is such a big pool is like, like all the things that maybe when niggling you before even allowing it out. So this might be that time to kind of really assess, like, you know, is this what you want to be daring as the organization for you except etc.
Yeah. I mean, you know, on the flip side, like we're in a. Uh, we're approaching probably like a financial cliff and a lot of bad newness. And so like E you shouldn't quit some job because someone's a jerk to you and you just feel like you, uh, want to go out and, and, you know, realize your dream of being an Instagram influencer.
Like. That's not good either. I think a lot of this podcast advice tries to tell people to go out and do that. And it's just going to work out for you and you'll sell a million t-shirts it just doesn't work that way. Um, so like also like, just be aware of your own responsibilities and if you've got a mortgage and a car payment and stuff, um, unfortunately you don't have the luxury of quitting, the crappy boss and the crappy job.
Um, but you can do things to get yourself off of that, you know, decrease your, um, I love like mr. Money, mustache, you know, decrease your monthly expenditure, you know, get rid of that, uh, car payment for a $4,000 Toyota Camry. Like just like the more financial responsibilities you have, the, the greater, your, um, uh, monthly outgoing spending company or personal is the more bullshit you're gonna have to put up with from people.
Um, to pay for that. Uh, and the less of those burdens you have, um, the less bullshit you have to shoulder, um, you know, new cars. I I'm just, I'm like looking at cars this week. So this is a top of mine. New cars are like familiar there's, you know, and if you don't have a million dollars in the bank, um, you still have a $4,000 car and you think, Andy, why are we talking about this?
You're talking about business. Um, you will just have to do less. You have to pimp yourself less to pay for a old car or a small apartment or a used couch than you do for all this expensive BS we surround ourselves in. Um, and it'll make your work better and your life better when you can say no to that opportunity.
That really sucks. Um, whereas if you've spent every dollar or negative dollars on your life, Yeah, you're trapped and you can't quit, you know? Um, yeah, that this is obviously like different advice in different, for different peoples of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Um, you know, if you are, uh, working a crappy job and you're doing your best to make ends meet, and there's no more savings to have like austerity doesn't work, if you're, you know, like living in a very small apartment and have no car and take the bus, um, The answer is simply not to spend less.
And I'm speaking right now to like, uh, people like me who are in like a middle successful, um, You know, probably 30 something millennial existence, working at a job at a software company like this doesn't apply at all. If you are, um, you know, waiting tables during COVID and doing your damn best, um, there's, there's no good advice there.
You know, like we have this sort of cast system that doesn't enable you to make a, uh, a big change from that. Um, you know, for most people who are in that kind of spot, I say like, Try to find some kind of skill, get your CDL, you know, get, go drive some trucks. Um, like there there's so many programs that help you get to a place where you can go from making $13,000 a year to like 35,000.
And that's like, that's life changing. That's transcendent, you know? Um, and, uh, yeah, that, uh, I don't have enough experience in that space, but I will say that a lot of this advice. Um, applies to people who are already making, you know, $50,000 a year and up. Um, and we need to think about opportunities for people who are below the $50,000 Mark and how we can change their lives.
Um, because we won't have a, a healthy society until we do, you know, that's my, that's my little angle. Thank you, Annie. So for anybody that's listening, one, how can they get ahold of you? And two, the other thing that came to my mind as you were talking too about being of service to others, is, is there anything that you're currently noodling that you need maybe from, um, anybody that you want to put out there to bring in?
Um, I, you know, this will sound pretty saccharin, but I would say, uh, if you have any extra cycles, You have any spare money or time or effort, um, go out and do something like on your block. You know, like this is, this is a time right now where even the smallest kindness, uh, is going to be the super amplified.
Like we're in like the bonus round right now, where you get like triple cosmic points for every nice thing you do, because we're also stressed out and tired and broke and like, Everything sucks and is bad. So like, if you were ever thinking about like writing someone a nice letter, or like leaving a gift on your neighbor's porch or whatever, like this is the week.
Like it's right now. Um, you know, you don't need to help out the already doing really well, the head of marketing for a software company. Um, yeah. And then, uh, if you want to reach out to me, I'm Andy on Twitter. Uh, no, I'm sorry. I, I got that wrong. Um, I got so many handles I'm I'm that? Detroit Andy on Twitter.
Um, and I'm, uh, Too good at responding at responses or things on Twitter. So if you tweeted me out, I will get back to you and probably very fast. Um, I cannot say the same for email. Um, I, uh, I thumbs down almost all emails I get. So, um, sorry, you know, if you are trying to sell me a thing, um, it's just probably not going to work and that's, that's the end of it.