Launching a WordPress Product in Public: Session 29


In this podcast episode, Corey Maass and Cory Miller discuss their product launch strategy, including pricing and discount considerations for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They also talk about the importance of authenticity in business, sharing personal anecdotes to illustrate their points. The conversation then shifts to sales and marketing, Corey and Cory reflect on their experiences and preferences. They explore the challenges of direct sales and the comfort of marketing, particularly for introverts. They also touch on the distinction between business and personal relationships, and the importance of setting boundaries.

Top Takeaways:

  • Strategic Shifts Around Black Friday Sales: The discussion indirectly highlights the evolution of sales strategies surrounding Black Friday. Mentions of altered sales experiences and challenging times due to Black Friday might reflect the changing dynamics of this retail event. It underscores the necessity for businesses to adapt their sales approaches during such peak shopping periods, possibly indicating shifts in consumer behavior or industry trends.
  • Distinguishing Between Business Relationships and Personal Connections: Corey Miller grapples with understanding the distinction between business connections and personal friendships. This confusion arises when business associates exhibit personal gestures, leading to misconceptions about the depth of the relationship.
  • Evolution of Sales Strategies: They discuss the evolution of sales strategies, mentioning the shift from direct partnerships with hosting companies to more indirect sales efforts involving affiliate programs and agency collaborations. This evolution showcases the adaptability necessary in the constantly changing tech industry.

Mentioned in the show:

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Corey Maass (00:00:05) – Not only will we F-it  do it live, but we will F-it to do it publicly.

Cory Miller (00:00:13) – F-it. Let’s do it.

Corey Maass (00:00:16) – F-it-lessly. Dumb jokes all the way down. 

Cory Miller: We got him. 

Corey Maass: Good morning everybody.

Cory Miller (00:00:34) – All right. We’re live. Calling this session 29.

Corey Maass (00:00:39) – Do it. Yeah. At some point we when we were naive youngsters, we thought we would do these consistently every week. And so think we did had a, you know, episode 2.6 same week or something. Now we know better.

Cory Miller (00:00:57) – We know better.

Corey Maass (00:00:58) – It’s not weeks. It’s just sessions.

Cory Miller (00:01:03) – All right. So because I derailed this yesterday, I want to get right on it. Um, feedback on the Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

Corey Maass (00:01:13) – So. Yeah, one. I mean, to me, it’s just it just needs to be a coupon page so we can add more to this later. If we’re like, we need to still sell them, but I assume that. This would be sufficient. And think. The bigger thing that I wanted to discuss is the finer points of pricing.

Corey Maass (00:01:42) – So. For the folks who have signed up. To the mailing list. They are effectively the same folks that probably could or couldn’t meet maybe or maybe didn’t sign up at WordCamp US and those folks, we offered a $50, $49 a year forever special. And so my inclination is, yeah. So everybody on the mailing list will give them a coupon for $49 forever. 

Cory Miller: Okay. 

Corey Maass: Versus. And I think well so so that goes so a coupon code goes out to the mailing list. Use this. Get 49 bucks a year. Um, come Black Friday. I put you saw the dates. So it’s like the week before to the Monday after. So there’s a, like, two week window, essentially. My thought was to not to be so bold, and I saw there was even a discussion in the Club channel on on slack Post Status this morning about this kind of pricing, but my thought was $49 for the first year for Black Friday. Different from $49 every year forever.

Cory Miller (00:03:19) – I see what you’re saying.

Cory Miller (00:03:23) – Um, you know, if we were to just talk about Black Friday, you know, in absence of launching a new product, I’d be. I would probably just say once a year. It would be my first inclination.

Corey Maass (00:03:41) – Meaning? Sorry. Meaning one year.

Cory Miller (00:03:43) – One year. Yeah. Wouldn’t be like a lifetime deal, right? But because we’re. Trying to get the thing off the ground. And Black Friday is Cyber Monday is the biggest sales day that I’ve, that I’ve had, you know. I tend to think because we’re launching it. Let’s make this one. Grandfathered in like we want to get, you know. Because, you know, our goal, if we anchor on our goal, it’s we want to get this initial users using it, giving us feedback, asking for things. You know. And I tend to think, let’s just do it ongoing so that we can get some money in and seed it. And it probably is a way to say, like, I’m trying to think of a way to say, you know, it’s Black Friday, but it’s also launch day, you know, launch, OMGIMG launch.

Cory Miller (00:04:43) – And we’re trying to do this kind of with post-its too, is like, be the first, be in and give some grandfathered in like. I mean, we’re not doing that right now, but we’re trying to consider that we’re this price thing is very much the center of my thought outside of OMG. But I tend to think, let’s try to get a buzz like. You know the. Yeah.

Corey Maass (00:05:13) – Okay. I’m fine with that. And then. Yeah. 

Cory Miller (00:05:20) – We should put that on the Black Friday page.

Corey Maass (00:05:23) – That’s what I’m thinking.

Cory Miller (00:05:24) – Yeah. We should say.

Corey Maass (00:05:25) – This year only.

Cory Miller (00:05:27) – It’s a big. This is always big for getting all your plug ins here. We have a caveat. You’re going to get this renewal price forever. That’ll be a way for someone to kind of pause for a second, I think. And because Black Friday, Cyber Monday is getting so packed.

Corey Maass (00:05:45) – Yeah I agree. Mention. Lifetime. Yeah, yeah. Think that’s good. Think.

Corey Maass (00:06:00) – And that gives us I mean we could talk about it. Publicly we can like. So I’ve signed up for the Post Status deal Post Status Black Friday listing, which think is still a manual process right now versus I also signed up with Ben at LayerWP and you know, there’s a blurb and he’s like, are you ready to go live with this? And was like, well, hold on, hold on. Like I still want to edit the at that point, the the page technically existed, but there was nothing on it. The one you were just looking at. Um, but yeah, if I can because so I have an opportunity to go back to him and say, hey, could I amend the blurb and let’s actually add to the blurb, like this year only it’s Black Friday and launch pricing. So this is, you know, double whammy. Kapow! Amazing. Buy now. 

Cory Miller (00:06:58) – Yeah. And using two different coupons like so we can track the emails.

Corey Maass (00:07:05) – Oh interesting.

Cory Miller (00:07:06) – Okay I don’t know do we need the data point?

Cory Miller (00:07:09) – But you know it might be interesting just to know like oh we got 15 from Black Friday. We got oh.

Corey Maass (00:07:16) – Yeah yeah yeah. Oh I’m sorry I thought you meant two one on top of the other, but yes, we will. I’ve already set it up so that there is a different coupon code. Um, as much because for the Black Friday one, I wanted it. I wanted there to be a window. When? When that coupon code works like you have to buy before midnight or before 11: 59 Monday night. Or frankly, you just need to email us and it’d be nice. But you know, but that’s the idea, you know, because I’ve never done Black Friday before. And I’m like, so I want to do it kind of by the book. Just try it. But yeah, we will have that.

Cory Miller (00:07:59) – Yeah, this is a sidebar, but I think, you know, there’s always this thing in the community and elsewhere is like, don’t do coupons and stuff. And I go, I don’t know, I like money and people buying giving people a reason to buy as long as we’re not losing money, you know, we’re intentional about it.

Cory Miller (00:08:17) – And now it’s become this thing where everybody wants a Black Friday sale because, I don’t know, results kind of matter. I’m being chippy, but I kind of think to all those that go like, don’t do discounts, I go, I don’t know, I like money. You know, and it’s funny now you look at the community and there’s some people trying to be contrary still about it and you’re like, yeah, I still like money.

Corey Maass (00:08:41) – Some money is better than no money. 

Cory Miller (00:08:44) – Yeah, yeah. And especially like in software if you look at renewals. So we’re going to we’re going to do the same work today most likely that we’ll do a year from now, no matter if we have 15,000 customers or 5. Well we’re going to have to have more to five to continue the project. But like, you know what I’m saying. And so, you know, like you’re already doing the work, why not get paid for it. So yeah.

Corey Maass (00:09:08) – Yeah. Like it.

Corey Maass (00:09:09) – Yeah I’m definitely I’m my approach in the past I never I never did discounts I never participated. Now especially because of the launch. I just want to get every backlink I can and, you know, get in front of as many people as can so you know, why not? And we can. And you know, maybe next year we change our thinking.

Cory Miller (00:09:31) – Oh yeah, I think next year that’s a different story for sure. But because we’re, you know, trying to be intentional about getting long term customers and subscriptions because, you know, whatever we get today is likely, I’m going to guess going to renew it at 80%. You know, somewhere in there, those are really good renewal type things. And that’s a great way to build a business.

Corey Maass (00:09:53) – Right and then my plan was $99 per year after that. So this is 50% off now. So the other question was, um. Oh, so WP Constellations Michelle and Jeff interviewed me. Um, it worked out well because it was a month ago and we were going to launch two weeks ago, or they or six weeks ago, and they were going to release in two weeks.

Corey Maass (00:10:24) – And then it took them just as long to get the episode out the doors. It’s taken me to get this version out the door. So somebody actually tweeted like. In response to them promoting the episode. It’s not even released yet. I was like, it’s coming, it’s coming, but. On the. So there’s the people who have signed up, and we want to kind of want to reward them. And there’s people who will see the Black Friday deal. And and that’s a separate thing. Do we like, if I put this thing live today or tomorrow, is it $99 or is it $49? Because that kind of I’m I’m debating because it same sentiment is what you just said. Like money’s money and users or users want to get people on this thing, but you know then feel kind of crummy that we’ve not hooked anybody up when we said we would.

Cory Miller (00:11:22) – Yeah. I think for back to the press and negotiation is like we need to keep it. If this just keep $99 for a second and go.

Cory Miller (00:11:31) – If we keep $99 then I think everything should be coupons that they know. Like they see that discount and know there’s value higher to me and.

Corey Maass (00:11:41) – Thought that too, because it’s like, yeah, I don’t want to fall into the it’s not it’s not price anchoring because we’re not inflating this. We’re not we’re not writing $199 on the page and putting a line through it and then saying, $99. Our intention is to at least try to charge $99 for this at some point. But yeah, I like that idea of because I do want to reward the people who have come along for the journey or, you know, are seeing seeing those deals. So cool. Think so? Yeah. Have the same the same feeling.

Cory Miller (00:12:22) – Um, okay. $99. And that’s two licenses for $99?

Corey Maass (00:12:28) – Yeah. So and I was I’m still I, you know think we’ll we’ll adjust this. We’re obviously initial pricing is always based on assumption. Um. What I plugged in currently is. Excuse me. Website. The website plan two licenses.

Corey Maass (00:12:54) – And what I realize is that actually kind of includes that you could either use it for. Production and development. Or you can use it for because I haven’t seen an option for a way, to need to look. Like. Got into that later, but haven’t seen an option for like you can reuse the same license on a local. Like a development environment. And so, you know, you end up. Yeah, either plugging in the same or yeah, like you’ll update on production and then have to pull that update or you or you plug in the same license and that’s your second site. And so I depending on how people end up using this. You know, I’m a nerd. I obviously have development sites and production sites. And so for anybody buying into that. We will end up shooting ourselves in the foot or undermining our point of like, share this with a friend or, you know, give this to a client kind of scenario. But anyway, let’s just see. To me, I’m thinking, let’s just see how it pans out.

Cory Miller (00:14:17) – Yeah. Think so. And all of this is so much like there’s you know, we’ve got experiences in these things. But you also go, you like I don’t know, you know, so so much of this is really, truly, you know, part of it is in the dark. In the dark. Um, but I think we have and also we’re launching in a pretty tough economic climate overall. You know, I was just listening to one minute and going like, yeah, everybody’s feeling it. We’re just not saying it.

Corey Maass (00:14:51) – Which is which to me is mean the. I’ve done this before where like we’ve talked about it, sort of a soft launch. And it’s to me it’s the same sort of thing of like we’re starting, you know, the good, the good approach, that good attitude that think you and have is it’s a long, slow climb potentially for. Decades. And so we’re not we’re not launch people. We’re not. It has to be a huge you know, we’re sending out ten emails building up to the launch week where and I, I understand the idea of like, yeah, potentially 80% of your, you know, initial sales for the first year are going to happen in that first week.

Corey Maass (00:15:36) – But, you know, you and I are hopefully still going to be sitting at these desks in three, five, ten years, still making decisions and talking things through. So I’d, I’d rather soft launch. And that’s part of the, you know, that’s the developer in me found a huge bug this morning. It’s like oh right. Yep. This thing’s still in development. So I’d rather slow and steady anyway. Yeah. So the next, next bullet point was I wrote yesterday but we were philosophizing was releasing tomorrow meaning today? Yep. But I people who know me know that I work a bar shift once a week and that’s this afternoon. And so things are quiet here because it’s cold. So we don’t have many people. So it’s a bar at a golf course. So we don’t have many people golfing. So generally it’s quiet. So usually I can sit there and still kind of work. But launch day, assuming we have some sales people are going to be finding bugs and I’m going to need meeting to scramble to fix them and push out an update.

Corey Maass (00:16:53) – So my inclination now is I’m going to take today to do some last minute, like just walk through everything I possibly can, click on everything I possibly can one more time, and then put it live tomorrow. I mean, launching on a Friday is kind of weird, but like I said a minute ago, I don’t really care. Like I’m not thinking. I don’t think strategically like that, as we’ve sort of talked about. So.

Cory Miller (00:17:21) – I. Yeah, I was even like, man, one thing I’ve learned from all this is, is like, try to do as best you can with strategy and then fuck it, let’s just launch on Friday, you know? Yeah, yeah. Um. Oh, I dropped an F-bomb. Um. Yeah. Like. I get close to this, start second guessing me, myself and I were thinking, screw it, let’s just launch the thing. Yeah.

Corey Maass (00:17:49) – Yeah, I don’t I do want to set myself up for I don’t want to set myself up for a panicky day.

Corey Maass (00:17:57) – So I’m definitely I’m vetoing. Originally, I was like, it’s fine. You know, I’ve got until I go to the bar but don’t want to set myself up for it. So, you know, 8 a.m. tomorrow morning. Yeah.

Cory Miller (00:18:11) – Hey, at the end of this, let’s end the webinar and let’s record real quick five minutes talking about like it’s finally here. It’s been 29 weeks at least, but it’s really been a year. We’re finally here to this day. Here’s what we’re trying to do with OMGIMG love it for you to join us. You know.

Corey Maass (00:18:27) – And and that’s the shirt you’re going to choose to wear.

Cory Miller (00:18:30) – I’d better change. Find my OMG.

Corey Maass (00:18:35) – One. Yeah, exactly. I was just going to say we have to go put on our shirts at least. But yes, think that’s a great idea because that was actually something else that was on not on the agenda. But so one other little point is, some of the first feedback that I got on the home page is so we’ve talked about how we we’ve received good or encouraging feedback where people have said they love that.

Corey Maass (00:19:03) – The homepage illustrates the point before and after, before and after. But I have heard that my. Instagramming my social media ING of the illustrations is too silly. Like I say before and after, and some of the comment or some of the feedback I heard was that the, you know, Twitter terrible to Twitter terrific was too silly, which I’m like, I like that think it’s fun wording, but the the Jillian like and the, you know, 1000 the 100 emojis that I put on the illustrations, I’m starting to waffle on that. They might in fact take away from the point because they make them non realistic. So I just wanted to. Am I overthinking this or.

Cory Miller (00:19:59) – Well, I don’t know. And I like being in partnership because it’s like. I don’t know hearing you say that. I go. Fuck it, I don’t care. Like, we’re kind of. This is who we are, you know? And so, like. We’re not. We’re not elite designers. We’re not elite in a lot of different areas where two guys saw something we wanted to do and did it, and it’s just a part of our thing.

Cory Miller (00:20:30) – Like there’s a part of me that doesn’t care, that just goes, I don’t really care. Let’s lean into it. You know what I mean? Right? There’s a there’s this other side that trips me up sometimes that doesn’t let me do those things and just be me through the product. And now there’s detriments this. But like then I go, okay, well what is conceptually what is it typical. They’re they’re serious professional. And you go, okay. Yeah. I mean there’s truth to that. Like, maybe we should do this. I don’t know, man.

Corey Maass (00:21:04) – Okay.

Cory Miller (00:21:05) – I kind of think I don’t really care. We’re trying to. We’re. You can get stodgy, perfection minded. And I do this all the time to myself. But hearing it from you, I’m like, no, let’s do silly. Let’s do a good gazillion. Like like you said, I kind of like it. Let’s do more of that.

Corey Maass (00:21:24) – Yeah. And that’s that was my instinct too, of like mean we’ve we’ve named the damn thing.

Corey Maass (00:21:29) – OMGIMG like it’s already inherently silly. We have and.

Cory Miller (00:21:33) – Freaking rainbow logo with our shirts. We are crazy because we do this stuff. We come on live and we’ve been doing this for a long time. I don’t know, I probably stand sound a little bit just being us, so I think it’s in our MO.

Corey Maass (00:21:51) – Excellent. Okay. And that was kind of the the reality check or the gut check that I wanted. Let’s stick with it. This is you know, and and being, you know, serious and businessy like it is still on brand to be silly and think that’s the we we talked about early on.

Cory Miller (00:22:11) – Because that’s us.

Corey Maass (00:22:13) – It is. And you.

Cory Miller (00:22:14) – Know you know.

Corey Maass (00:22:15) – Dad dad jokes and and mean it’s a it’s it’s a yeah a light touch using having fun with language appreciating the use of language. Um and then yeah putting a serious hat on like we over time we want to build. You know, you build a brand or you build a brand personality, but think that that’s inherent in this and it doesn’t.

Corey Maass (00:22:43) – The only thing that we only have. We only ever have to be careful of is to make sure that it doesn’t. Make people not go, oh, this isn’t serious. This isn’t a powerful tool. You know, this is a toy or something, and we’re not there. I’m not saying that at all. It’s think that’s the line. So as long as we don’t cross that line, you know, but it’s like signing in, you know, on the welcome screen it’s like hey there. And you know, real friendly. Not Microsoft not you know. Yeah.

Cory Miller (00:23:17) – Stodgy stiff kind of going through this phase. I’ve been talking with my coach for weeks about it is idealism and perfection. So this like really pings for me right now is and I get it. You are so good at moderating that. But I go okay, perfection. You know, does it does it check all the boxes and I end up so many times with that go, I don’t do it, I don’t do it.

Cory Miller (00:23:43) – I wait off, I get overwhelmed, just, you know, imposter, you know, insecurity, you know, and I go, what I’ve been trying to do with her is like the aim is to aim is we’ve been very forthright about this and authentic and natural. And I think that stands out for one first and foremost. But. Second is. We’re just being us. And this is us, naturally. And here’s my, my, my thesis on business. And it came because of like I felt probably forced to do it is I liked being behind the computer, being with the team and pushing products out. And then people started going, are they even around anymore? And that really kind of hurt my feelings. And I said, well, okay, I’m going to lean into I’m going to dive into if people are attracted to my personality and that helps us make a sale. I went out and did it, you know. So and we’re talking about this with Lindsey too. It’s just this is a huge bias and I don’t know if other people care or give a shit as much as I do, because I don’t do this in every single thing.

Cory Miller (00:24:51) – Like, I don’t know Steve Jobs, but there’s a little bit of attachment to. I’m being careful not to say personality, but it’s really like. Do you want to be somewhere that ultimately I thought if everything is equal, the tiebreaker would be I’m going to be more personable, more human. I’m going to be out there, you know, and so like. This is another part of our experiment here. It’s like, I don’t know. We’re late for bus 47. We’re kind of silly. You know, although you have this huge following in England for your music.

Corey Maass (00:25:33) – Huge. I have six fans, man. Don’t let me fool you.

Cory Miller (00:25:38) – It feels like me sometimes when I’ve been more quirky, which is just me. I have the most eclectic music tastes in the world. I have every genre almost like. And the more I’m just kind of like myself, the people just find it a little bit refreshing. So if we need to put an intention and go on, it is like we’re going to be authentic and stand out from who we are.

Cory Miller (00:26:00) – Like, does that actually ultimately sell the product? Who knows. But when we’re doing these things, I think, you know, it’s like sharing philosophy. And I want to I think we all want to buy into something, you know, we want to be a part of something that’s bigger than just us. And that’s the thesis I did with previous businesses. I want them to feel more attached to us. So we did shows. We did these things. And I don’t know, man, there’s a lot of noise out there today. But like authenticity, you know, there’s I mean, hey, we’re also admitting, hey, we’re finding bugs. Hey, we don’t know everything.

Cory Miller (00:26:44) – Who knows if people actually know? I want people to pretend, at least that they know the shit that gets us stuff on lockdown. And I just go, yeah, okay. Sorry. That tribe over.

Corey Maass (00:26:56) – No, no. It’s true. And like. Yeah, I’m as you’re as you’re speaking.

Corey Maass (00:27:00) – I’m like lots of lots of memories coming up, right? Like, um, I remember there was a buddy of mine I worked with at RadioShack in college, and he he had this phrase. He’s like.

Cory Miller (00:27:14) – You worked at Radio Shack in college. Why did you do that? Why didn’t I do that?

Corey Maass (00:27:20) – Oh, one of the best, best things I ever did. Um, and and I lucked out. Little digression. It was just at the right time. They were just starting to really push computers and cell phones, which is what they became known for and was kind of their under, you know, what? What ultimately think sank them is because it was they just were trying to compete with big box stores. But I was in Binghamton, New York, and at the ass end of a mall that was failing, like all the malls were in the 90s and I thankfully was there at just the end of the era where a farmer would walk in and go, my tractor broke down. I think it’s this capacitor, could you help me? And I had to learn what a capacitor was, you know, and and subsequently I learned a ton.

Corey Maass (00:28:12) – I started it was through there that I, I learned about, you know, building sound systems. I started building my own synthesizers. Like, I learned how to soder, you know, I learned how just so much electronics work and it and it started it got me over the fear of like, electricity and, and the mechanical, dig into things and figure out how they work, even if it’s a total mystery. You know, I’m so grateful for that experience. But anyway.

Cory Miller (00:28:46) – Yeah, now you got me googling RadioShack shirts.

Corey Maass (00:28:50) – I know, I’m like, as soon as I get off, I gotta find myself one. Um, but I worked with a guy there who he. Most of the music he listened to was based on, um. Can’t think of the phrase, but basically it came down to like, do I want to have a beer with this person and male or female, band or solo artist? He was like, you know, like Beck. He was always talking about like, you know, the music is so weird, it makes no sense to me.

Corey Maass (00:29:18) – He was a bit more mainstream than I was, but he’s like, But Beck just seems like a guy you want to have a beer with and was like, that’s awesome. Yeah. And and then later, fast forward many years. I remember I was in the running for a job, and it came down to me and one other person and, and the, the folks hiring were very up front. They’re like, it’s is you are the other person. It seems like you have exactly the same experiences, the same expertise, the same attitude, the same whatever. And so I went in for like the third or fourth interview and could tell that they were just desperate for any, you know, give us any reason to hire you over the other person. And I tried, I talked about music. I talked about all those things that make me, me to make them like or dislike, I suppose. But, you know, probably like see me more human than just my resume. And ultimately somebody came in and was it was ten in the morning and poke their head in and was like, hey, I’m doing a coffee run and was like, hey, let’s all go get a cup of coffee.

Corey Maass (00:30:24) – And I got, you know, the four of us, the team I was going to work with and me like walking to the coffee shop. And at that moment I was like, I knew I won because I was like, you know, where they now see me as a person to hang out with. We’re going to work together, you know, and I don’t you can’t always do that in a brand, for sure. But, you know, and so sorry. The third thing I wanted to bring up. Talking about watching Halt and Catch Fire yesterday. It goes over the arc, totally giving a few things away. Spoiler alert fast forward is early on. Everybody on the show is super serious about business, and there’s ways to do business and the like on Mad Men. You know, if you’re not a sales person, you do not just do a sales call. That is the job of the salesperson, blah, blah, blah. And by the end, they’re running companies where they’re like, they’re like, we just want to have fun.

Corey Maass (00:31:20) – And they, you know, and it’s all about the people and the people working together and accomplishing something amazing. And and I’m think you and I are at that point where we are, we we it’s more we don’t need this to make a million dollars. And so we’re not afraid to be ourselves and be casual and make mistakes and admit our faults, all that kind of stuff. And yeah, maybe there are definitely going to be people out there that are like, oh, well, these jackasses are amateurs. And it’s like, sure, then go buy a Microsoft product. I’m picking on them a lot. I don’t mean that they’re a decent company, but, you know, corporate, you know, in Catch Fire, they talk all the time about IBM, the suits, the blue suits, and nobody else would dare wear a blue suit, because if you wore a blue suit, you were probably part of IBM. But that’s stiff corporate. Da da da da da. And it’s like there are times when I want to be serious and think my enthusiasm comes across right.

Corey Maass (00:32:20) – I’m not unprofessional and I’m not not knowledgeable. But I’m definitely not stiff. Serious. 

Cory Miller (00:32:29) – Okay. Can we turn this this or do another podcast where we just talk like we don’t actually have shit to do? Because I love these conversations. There’s a there’s I want to go back. Scroll back to something you said which buy from humans, that kind of thing where I think I took it too far and I’m having a problem now. This is why I say we need a separate one, so I can not have to apologize to digress all the time. Because this is really about business and product, right? Product is our example, but we’re really talking about business. So in the new format I would request, then I don’t have to apologize anymore. Um, but here’s where this being human went to, I think into a negative space for me is I became overgenerous over out there. I didn’t charge when I probably should have. You know, there’s a there’s a delineation where you’re like, I don’t know.

Cory Miller (00:33:36) – And I haven’t found that balance yet where you’re like, okay, this is like, you should you should pay me. You know what I mean? 

Corey Maass: Right. 

Cory Miller: And I didn’t do that. And, you know, some of the things I’ve talked to you about is like, bitterness is like correcting the over part of that where I’m like, I’m too generous, you know, and being out there. And I think there’s a, there’s this part where people take not take advantage. They devalue the relationship. Now, when I’d go to WordCamps, meet people and hear their story, it’s 15 minutes, God, to hear a news story. There’s probably let’s say it’s karma or something. Karma, you know. But for business I think they it thought about it. But sometimes I think I went too far where it just blurred the relationship where they forgot. Like. The pay part.

Corey Maass (00:34:34) – Right.

Cory Miller (00:34:35) – And that’s not honestly their fault. I’m not trying to blame him. I just recognize him myself as like, that’s where I went too far, where I was too out there and stuff.

Cory Miller (00:34:43) – So I’m saying this with the authenticity, personable, human, this angle where you pull this back after that, it’s like not all these things. That’s where it got kind of skewed to me.

Corey Maass (00:34:56) – Yeah, I’ve definitely struggled with that too. Like, I want to give a lot, a lot away. And I mean, remember like again in the 90s when I first learned to make websites, I was making mostly free websites for the musicians around me. Because I love their music. And there was one guy in particular who was like, calling me, calling me, calling me, you know, make this pixel, tweak this pixel and was like, dude, this is all for free. Like, back off, you know? Well, you you offered. I’m like, well then rescind my offer. Like, go away, you know, and you’re always going to run into that and think that there’s it. It’s tough because I’ve, I’m think I’m better about it now. But you know, you want to help people and especially once you’re involved, there’s the all the fallacies the.

Corey Maass (00:35:50) – Sunk cost fallacy, or sunk time fallacy, or the momentum fallacy and all these things and you know, but some people just don’t don’t understand value or, you know, it’s again, assume good intentions. Like they just don’t understand, you know, to them, like it’s just pixels on a page. It should just take a minute. It’s like, okay, I need to educate you. Like, let’s assume that you just don’t know. You’re not being rude on purpose. You’re not being greedy on purpose. You know, it’s it’s an opportunity for me to to draw a line and very nicely say like, okay, I’ve done what I can for you for free. Now I need to charge you or. Help you on your way. You know, I can give you some guidance on hiring somebody who costs half as much as me because you don’t have the budget to actually hire me or whatever.

Cory Miller (00:36:44) – See, that’s what I haven’t. I’ve done product pretty much my whole career. I mean, the 1% or 2% of their services.

Cory Miller (00:36:53) – See, that’s where I think I’m learning so much. I’ve been learning so much is how do you like you? You have clients and things like that, and you have been through these. Service type struggles of pricing and okay, how much do I sell? And then it’s a professional relationship where they we are exchanging services, you know, that kind of thing. And it’s it’s dawned on me but it’s not the first time is like the last five years has been way more sales than I’ve ever done in my entire career. You know. And I think it’s why obviously it’s why I like product and the internet because you can kind of hide and you don’t have to do all those conversations because they’re tough. Like, I’m having them right now and they suck. Like, I have a really bad attitude about it because I don’t want to do it.

Corey Maass (00:37:47) – You know, feeling good, feeling helpful, feeling kind. For me, it used to be feeling smart. Um, I remember I 20 years ago had a client in New York City who had all these great ideas.

Corey Maass (00:38:00) – Great. And he he paid me what he could. Well, frankly, he paid me what I asked. But like, we would spend remember, like in particular, we met for a coffee. We talked through, started talking through his idea, whatever it was I was going to build for him. And like, I was like, you know, this is a great conversation. Let’s go for a walk. And we wound up walking for hours and hours and hours. So we’re like hanging out in Union Square. And then we got lunch and like, he bought lunch and but at the end of the day, I was like, I, I got a free coffee and a free lunch out of eight hours or more. And that’s not that’s fun. And if that’s my business model, it’s a terrible business model. But if I chose to do it, but I didn’t in the moment, it didn’t occur to me that that wasn’t sustainable, you know? And so it’s like drawing again, just figuring out those lines, figuring out your own motivations, drawing those lines and being and having the confidence.

Corey Maass (00:39:00) – It’s scary sometimes to be like, okay, so now you need to pay me like I’ve given you something for free, but I have an agenda 100%. You know, the intention is to show you to demonstrate my expertise. Now you need to pay, and you don’t have to. You know, it’s like there was. I’ll think of it, but there was a podcast I listened to ages ago. And in the car. It was at night. That helps right now you know what podcast about it. But the they interviewed a person who was who did a lot of sales by webinar, like they did a weekly webinar about the product. And I loved the formula. He the guy said, so what I do is like the main question he was presented with is, you know, you get on you, you teach for half an hour and then you become the air quotes douchey sales guy and try to shove the product down their throat. Um, and, you know, surely everybody signs off at that point and surely everybody is like, oh, you’re just a douchey salesman.

Corey Maass (00:40:14) – And, you know, the first half was is, you know, bunk and all that. And he’s like, so this is what I do. He’s like, I get on and I tell them the agenda. It’s like, look, I represent this company. I’m going to teach you these three things for half an hour, and then I’m going to give you my softball sales pitch, buy or don’t. And it just. Just like that. Like took all of the pressure away and it was like, that’s amazing. Like, so everybody knew that it was coming. Nobody felt pressured. You know, I’m I’m sure some people listened out of courtesy, but also like, I know I would listen out of curiosity, knowing that I’m not sitting there waiting for him to switch into sales mode because already know it’s coming. And I was like, it’s so simple. But there he did it.

Cory Miller (00:41:01) – See? That’s good. That’s really good.

Corey Maass (00:41:04) – And it’s. And it’s not until I’ve, I’ve employed that a few times where I’m like, you know.

Corey Maass (00:41:12) – Let’s talk about the problem. Let me get my head around where I think I can help you. And then I will tell you, you know, where. Where I might fit in, and maybe I don’t fit in, you know, but hopefully I’ve already given you some advice or guidelines or, you know, and if you go and you hire somebody else, fine. But it also helps me quantify like, oh, I’m going to give you 45 minutes of my time. You know, that might normally I would charge X amount, but that’s fine. You know that’s a loss leader or that’s you know, the the ad, the run.

Cory Miller (00:41:50) – Yeah. I get tripped up there too because we have a lot of obviously sponsorship enterprise type sales. And you know I think most calls when we’re this year aside I should just put this year aside. It’s just a it’s a it’s just a down year for everybody. And so everybody’s getting budgets and stuff. But y I’ve been frustrated with those bigger sales is like you don’t get one.

Cory Miller (00:42:15) – You don’t lose $80. You lose the opportunity for 20. You know for a bigger. Bigger day. And you know, last year it was different. Completely different climate, by the way. Yeah. And how that shifted sales were humble year but like so anyway man, this whole conversation about sales like even you’re saying that it’s like I’m going to phase that in and integrate that. It’s just we’re here for. I got to tell myself that though, because I’m always trying to, you know, make friends, you know.

Corey Maass (00:42:54) – Especially in, in our ecosystem. That’s tough. And I’ve talked about this at least personally with you before. Don’t think maybe I’ve talked about it publicly, but like in my first, second career as a musician, that we’ve talked a lot about identity being tied into your the things you’re trying to accomplish. But I had a. Real bad. Experience breakup with music and this big part of my life, because there were all these people that I thought were friends and some of them were, but we were colleagues is now the word that I really prefer.

Corey Maass (00:43:43) – We were experiencing the same thing together and doing it with smiles on our faces. But it’s there, not there. There wasn’t the specifically like loyalty or investment. And so it was like the example was I had a lot of people around me who were also making music, and I would go out of my way to promote them and promote their music, even if it wasn’t my favorite, because I’m wasn’t being disingenuous. But I’m like, we all go up together, you know, we are part of the scene or part of a crew or whatever. And and when it came to other people doing that for me, crickets. I was heartbroken. Devastated. And so it’s it’s hard to or it’s tricky to not fall into that. It’s it’s trickier when it comes to something that is a hobby, like music and something that is very clearly art, like music. And we were making music. We were involved in music that we were in New York City, and there were big parties and hundreds or thousands of people would come.

Corey Maass (00:44:54) – But it wasn’t, you know, pop music, it wasn’t industry music. It wasn’t. And so we were all there because of the love of it. There was some money to be made. But we’re none of us were. None of us didn’t have day jobs, you know what I mean? Um, but so WordPress ecosystem, we all go to work camps. You see the same people. And I’ve experienced actually experienced this a little bit, um, where there were people who was like, oh, we’ve we’ve hung out for a day at work camp, like all day. We were like WordCamp buddies and then go home and like, try to continue the conversation. And they made it clear that I was, this is this is a little mean, but like girlfriend for a weekend kind of thing. Whereas like I was not you know, we are not now connected. We are not now. You know, buddies like our relationship did not go to the next level. We are not now friends and and we are colleagues.

Corey Maass (00:45:50) – And I’ll see you at the next board camp. And yes, let’s stay in touch. But and was like, okay, so I can’t I have to be careful to not tie friendships, relationships, expectations into going to these events. You know, it’s a chance to connect. We all have. We all can have fun and smiles on our faces and stuff, but people are not going to the the assumption of like, we’re going to exchange favors is not their loyalty, not necessarily their. But it’s if you’re especially coming out of Covid, if you work from home all the time, it’s easy to get lonely. It’s easy to get, you know, to to feel the need to be with other people, connect with other people and then not to put too much weight on it, which I’ve definitely fallen into that trap. So yeah, that’s that’s a tough line to cross or blind to, to observe and. Not. You know, some of these people are they’re good people because I’m ending the sentence with they are not your friends.

Corey Maass (00:46:55) – Which sounds really harsh, but it’s like they’re not bad people, they’re not disingenuous. They’re not trying to stab you in the back, but they’re, you know.

Cory Miller (00:47:03) – Yeah, I yeah, early on I wrote a post like, you know, business shouldn’t be personal. And I was like, it’s all personal to me, you know, which has some really grave detriments to your health. And I’m learning out of that. And what you’re saying is, like, even as you’re talking like. I was thinking about relationships in the outer space and going, yeah, now it came. My first lesson with this was we were working with another company in our main product, basically promoting them, and I get an email when I’m on a team meeting on something, and it was like an announcement of a competitor to that product. I’ll tell you offline who it was. Piss me off. I was like, I thought, we’re friends. And to me that was some semblance of loyalty. And they are free to do all the business.

Cory Miller (00:48:04) – But the connection that we are promoting their product. NAS, I was like, I guess we’re not friends. Like I thought we were, right. By the way, that’s the story, how we got a product. And if I would say that category of the product, you know, I’m talking about. But. That was a shift for me to go. Oh, hold on a minute. Not everybody thinks like me. I try to be open, embracing, and I’m like, okay, that’s just something a little bit different about me. And and like you said, it’s not that they’re bad, they’re just a person. This whole is a different relationship. So that’s that’s a good stuff and tell where my things are. This is why we need a separate podcast course. So don’t feel bad because we’re supposed to spend 30 on the product. But. Recognizing that, you know, like I think of people more as friends and to me, part of that loyalty, part of that generosity.

Cory Miller (00:49:09) – Like we kind of share that and realizing I do, I’ve been way more loyal, loyal to friends and did not have the same back. And my thing is going. Oh, I’m talking about business in particular, by the way. You know, which is what we’re talking about. But like realizing these business friends or business friends, some of them were business friends, but it was crazy. There’s the delineation, some of these same friends that you’ve talked to you about that I’m probably frustrated were people that sent like personalized gifts when our babies were being born. Right. You know, and so I go, we’re friends, right.

Corey Maass (00:49:57) – If you’re involved in my personal life, if you have.

Cory Miller (00:50:00) – My home address and know my son’s name, like, you know, but then recognizing like, oh man, I am an open door like that to friends, not everybody’s that way. And that’s okay. Right. So, well, and this all comes back to like, sales for me because I wrestle with it.

Cory Miller (00:50:18) – I’m like, I take it personally. It’s like I failed. It’s my fault. You know? And why I’ve really loved marketing because you get to sit by and it’s like, well, they didn’t buy, oh darn it, worse than someone going, we can’t do it this year. You know what I mean? It’s like, oh, that sucks.

Corey Maass (00:50:39) – Yeah. It’s interesting. I had never thought about that, but. Resonates for me. Sales is hard and scary, and marketing is. Depending on your motivation. Again, totally for me, not for most people. My marketing is a cop out. If if you’re. Not sure. Like I could pick up the phone. You know. If this was if this situation was true, it’s like I could write a blog post and really hope that it brings people to my website. Or I could pick up the phone and call a bunch of people and ask them directly to buy my product. Nine times out of ten, most of us are going to go.

Corey Maass (00:51:26) – I’ll write a blog post because it’s it’s it’s scary to pick up the phone and ask for sales directly versus like, marketing, you know, gentle, easygoing, buy or don’t you know, I’m going to do a bunch of effort because it’s and I’ll put in more effort arguably, than just asking for the sale and getting it or not. Like that’s interesting. I had never thought about that.

Cory Miller (00:51:49) – So marketing is totally the behind the scene. It’s the introverts, right? The way to sell. 

Corey Maass (00:51:57) – There you go.

Cory Miller (00:51:58) – What I have been locked in in this conversation helped me realize this. I know it in that I don’t like doing this, you know, but the things are. I remembered in 2006, seven and eight sermon blog, starting the business, all this stuff. I love that because I was at my home behind a screen. 

Corey Maass:Yep. 

Cory Miller: You know, that’s why. So it’s funny because my my grandfather, my maternal grandfather, he’s the iconic, in my mind, entrepreneur.

Cory Miller (00:52:28) – He would never call himself that. But he gregarious. They did sales all day, every day. It was motorcycle business and he never met a stranger. And I think that was one of my handicaps. Thank you for this. Another session here, bill me Dr.Maass. But like. I remember starting to. I wanted to do what he was doing, but recognizing I tend to extrovert or introvert. I think people were probably sometimes mislabeled me, and that’s only because I play up when I go to events and stuff. Like that’s why it’s such an energy tax for me. I have to really play up and I think that’s part of that. But like your metrics for marketing. They’re they’re safer. Right? Sales is like someone just told me. No. You know, one of the friends that told you about Pingdom. And I’m like. You know, I think I’m getting to no.

Cory Miller (00:53:32) – And that’s where some of that friendship maybe I just think of people differently that I need to correct, obviously.

Cory Miller (00:53:39) – But that what that’s what kept me back. Which is why the internet was beautiful. 

Corey Maass: Right.

Cory Miller: This is why I loved internet marketing. I didn’t even know it was a term. I wasn’t even a classically trained marketer. And then I discovered and I go, oh, this is fantastic. It’s really safe. It’s a video game. I get numbers here. I can keep playing the video game. Nobody comes in and tells me no.

Corey Maass (00:54:01) – I wonder. Yeah, I wonder if that isn’t like looking back. I’m like, there was this huge tidal wave of, you know, in the early SASS days, it was like, it’s all about marketing. You need to blog, you need to tweet, you need to, you know, soft, gentle incoming marketing, um, or inbound versus outbound and all that stuff, like, and looking back, I’m like, oh yeah, because it was all self-generated. You could just sit in a dark room and crank stuff out. But it was never scary.

Corey Maass (00:54:34) – It was hard time consuming, you know, taxing at times. But like probably most people were drawn to it, myself included, because it’s like it was not picking up the phone. I’m just and I’m trying to put in the context now. It’s like, you know, the the whale in WordPress for a plugin would be like, I don’t think most WordPress hosts do this anymore. But for a while hosts would partner with plug ins. And so when you signed up for a managed WordPress instance on a hosting company, they would already have a couple of plugins installed for you. We endorse iTheme security, so it’s already installed and it’s like, well, of course they’ve got a partnership with iThemes to do that or something. And so it was like when I learned about that and unfortunately I learned about it, it was think Kanban was like, oh, they’re already most hosts. Think I got on the waiting list for a couple of hosts, but was told, like, these are this is the the waiting room of death.

Corey Maass (00:55:44) – Like at this point, nobody does that anymore because all the hosting company companies had been burned or didn’t see the value or, you know, they then had to support the plug ins or whatever the reasons. But it’s like now, you know, what would hard sales for OMG right? Like we would call all the hosting companies and be like, how do we get you to endorse OMG, you know, we will, we will hook you up with an affiliate program. And so every sale that comes through you promoting it, we get 20%. And having those kinds of like sales, you know, or talking to the big agencies and going, how do we get you to sell this to your clients? So we get even whatever percentage is like hard sales like that versus, you know, yeah, tweeting about it and hoping people see the message, taking out some ads like guess that sales. But it’s still gentle and easy. They’re still not. You’re never hearing the no you set.

Cory Miller (00:56:45) – And now it just occurs to me how that business evolved because I was trying to do, you know, keep the business going, was willing to do whatever, which got into kind of that arena.

Cory Miller (00:56:59) – But why I like product so much. It’s a video game. Anyway, sorry I digress, but this is ringing my bell. The sales conversation because I think it’s. I’ve really enjoyed the video game aspect of marketing. 

Corey Maass: Yeah. 

Cory Miller: You know, it’s a tough game. It’s a really that still is a tough game, like you just said. The ultimate thing, and it has some morality here, which, you know, such is intrinsic value of getting the high score. It’s like, uh, we still have this value proposition. We want to make money with it, you know? So it’s a, it’s a, it’s a real life game for sure. 

Corey Maass (00:57:50) – Yeah. It’s exactly 11am. Let’s stop. I have a bug to fix. But yeah, let’s pop off. Let’s record a quick video and do something with it.

Cory Miller (00:58:04) – Okay, we accomplished our agenda, which is good.

Corey Maass (00:58:08) – Yeah we did. We got through the agenda.

Cory Miller (00:58:11) – All right. Thanks, man.

Corey Maass (00:58:14) – Yeah. We’ll talk. Let’s rejoin in a minute.

Cory Miller (00:58:17) – Okay. Sounds good. 

Corey Maass: Bye.

This article, Launching a WordPress Product in Public: Session 29, was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

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