Stay up to date!

Subscribe to our podcast for weekly motivation and actionable advice to build your dream business.

Andrew Warner on Entrepreneurship and Chatbots

Jesse and Rich interview internet startup entrepreneur and discuss his trademark “punch” and the beads on his social profiles. Andrew advises new entrepreneurs to pick up the phone and talk to customers. Or text, chat. Say thanks and ask why they bought. Learn what they need to improve your business.

Show notes

  • — learning how to do chatbots
  • — Do it for me service


Jesse: What’s going on, Richie?

Richard: What’s happening, Jesse?

Jesse: A broadcast day.

Richard: I’m excited. I’m sorry. I’m jumping the gun here.

Jesse: Yeah, we’re definitely excited today.

Richard: I’m always excited. We’re normally helping merchants grow their business and then sometimes we’re bringing on developers or dev or other software that helps them grow their business. But we’re gonna get to do a couple of things today. We’re going to talk to a fan of our own fellow podcasters.

Jesse: Side benefit of doing podcast.

Richard: Which is build your Rolodex or whatever. We don’t know if he’ll call us back or not we’ll see. (laughing) But we know this person is of the same mindset of us. He loves helping other people and it’s very obvious in everything he’s done. And just I’m super excited.

Jesse: Yeah, absolutely. The reason we do this podcast is we want to help the Ecwid community, want to help other people. Beyond that, we want to help people get started and get over the hump. So with that let’s bring in our guests. This is an internet startup entrepreneur and host of the awesome podcast Mixergy, Andrew Warner.

Andrew: Hey, thanks for having me on.

Jesse: Yeah, absolutely.

Richard: Thanks for coming. If anything, we’re going to have to take your knowledge and bring it back a few notches here because although these people could have built big businesses in brick and mortar, most people that are using Ecwid are mostly ma and pa maybe up to teams of five. A lot of solopreneurs though, you want to keep it simple, so I want to keep it as simple as possible. And mostly as we stated earlier, we’re super fans of your podcast. You’ve interviewed — not just been successful yourself — but you interview amazing proven entrepreneurs. We’re not only gonna get your insight but we’re gonna get your insight via all those interviews of other entrepreneurs as well. At the very highest level, from a mindset perspective if we were starting there and then we’ll get into some more tactical stuff. What do you think an entrepreneur who’s just getting started and maybe they’re still a “wantrepreneur” and they’re not even really necessarily made any money yet. What’s the mindset that they should be thinking about?

Andrew: Let me ask you this before we start. Why didn’t you guys come to a scotch night that I organized? You knew scotch was in your area.

Richard: We didn’t find out. What you specifically alluded to is social media marketing world, we’re down there. You invited everyone to come to have a scotch with you. And we really wanted to and I probably could have more than Jesse, so I’m throwing my own self under the bus. He lives far away and he would’ve had to Uber along the way. I had plans and damn it I’m making sure I don’t have plans next year. (laughing)

Andrew: I got to tell you I got this incredible suite. It was giant. It was just fantastic and I had meetings there and I just enjoyed sleeping there because I like a good experience. And I said: “You know what, it’s great space. I’m going to invite people out to come to scotch.” I don’t mean to call you guys out on it. I want to actually use that as an opportunity to show people the way that I think about entrepreneurship and business in general. What I did was I said to people who were at the event: “If you want to come to my room for a scotch night, here’s my room number and here’s a chatbot that you can subscribe to, that will update you and let you come into the room.” And people did come in. I specifically had instructions cause these suites when you get to a certain floor, they don’t just let anyone come up you have to have a key. I told the people downstairs: “Anyone who mentions my name, I want you to give them a key and make sure that they have a comfortable time coming upstairs.” Which is kind of a weird thing? Nobody does that. They were shocked. But there’s a reason behind it. Yes, I like Scotch. Yes, I like people and I’ll do that anytime. What I was trying to do is understand people’s problems. I was trying to get in their heads on an emotional level, in a way that you couldn’t get if you had people fill out a survey. I want to understand since I was talking about chatbots and we could talk a little bit about that here. Did they even understand what chatbots were? Do they even understand who I am? Did they come to that conference with a specific goal that I could then — if I come back and speak the next year — feed off? And that’s the way that I think about business. We want to understand people’s problems in as creative a way as possible. Most people try to put the creativity into what to make, what to sell. I think creativity needs to go into how do we get into the hearts of the people that we want to sell to, to understand the real problems that they have. Because if we do, then we can start to sell them something that they want and that they could be happy with. And since this is me talking about myself and people don’t really know me yet, I’ll tell you and tie it into other entrepreneurs that I’ve interviewed. I’ll actually tell you about a pair of entrepreneurs, the founders of Airbnb. When they started out they were listening to Mixergy interviews. They emailed me and they pitched me on being on and at first, I said: “No, I’m not sure you guys are ready.” But they came back and they pitch me and they said: “Yes, I do want to be on Mixergy, we’re ready. Here’s what we’ve got.” And one of the things that they told me when they got on and I’m glad that I had them on, obviously. They said that no one was using Airbnb except for a few people in New York. So they flew out to people in New York. They asked to stay at their homes and as they stayed at their homes, what they were looking for was why people were using it. What’s the problem they were solving. Barry Manilow was drummer, was one of the people who they met with, whose home they stayed in. The person said: “It’s OK to have somebody rent my room”, which is what everybody was doing — letting people rent rooms at the time. The drummer said: “Look, I’m on tour for weeks at a time, this place is empty. It’s weird when somebody is here while I’m here. But it’s not so weird if I’m not here and this place is staying empty. I just don’t like that I’m paying rent on an empty spot. If you guys could solve that for me, that would be a big help.” And so they obviously did and Airbnb now does more business renting, whole spaces, apartments, homes than they do renting a corner of a person’s home or a bedroom. They found lots of things like that. A lot of people didn’t like the small images that they had on Airbnb’s web page. It was too tough to get a sense of where they were staying when they saw small images. They understood the pain and they improved the images by not just taking bigger pictures or asking for bigger pictures but going out with their cameras and taking bigger pictures of the location. So what does this mean for an e-commerce store? It’s really hard to come up with where’s the better factory, what is a better product, what’s the better language. We could forever think about what’s a nicer this or that. I think it’s much more powerful to say what is our customer going through. What’s the big pain point that we’re solving for them. If we can tap into that, then we create more meaning for them, easier sale to them. We could feel prouder of what we’re doing. And the question is how do we do that?

Richard: It’s funny, you actually stay consistent because if I remember right I was looking at your Twitter profile and your location. It says “Your heart.” That’s actually where you’re headed to get it. So staying consistent all the way through. I love it.

Andrew: I got to say part of that is that my wife loves to travel and so do I. And it’s really hard to pin this down. And so especially when I wrote that down, we were traveling a whole lot. And one of my goals this year is to run a marathon on every continent. And as I go to meet entrepreneurs on every continent. Seven marathons on my own largely, seven continents in one year. And so yeah, it’s really hard to say I’m in San Francisco where I live.

Richard: Be updating it all the time. Sticking with the Twitter profile for a second, what’s the punch all about?

Andrew: Oh, the punch. Yeah. On my photo, there’s a punch and if you look a little carefully on the punch, you’ll see that there’s a bead that I’m putting, there’s like a bracelet with beads on it. What I noticed is that there are a lot of people listening to my interviews and getting things out of it. They were actually learning. I told you about the Airbnb, there are so many other people. The founder of Tuft & Needle too, I think a hundred seventy million dollars a year now selling mattresses online, who was a pioneer of a bootstrapped company. He’s listening to Mixergy interviews, an early customer of mine and he learned a lot. But there are a lot of people who are learning and not doing anything and I’m sure you found that with your podcast. People who are listening, who may be a week, a year or whatever from now will say: “I didn’t really get much, I don’t know that these guys are actually that helpful”. The truth is that it’s often not what you’re learning. It’s often not what other people are putting out there. It’s the hesitation that we all have internally. I call it the counter mind. Everything that I want to do, there’s a part of my head because what if it fails, what if it’s going to be too much trouble. What if it doesn’t work out, what if you embarrass yourself. And so an easy example is I’m going to run a marathon on every continent. Before I told people that was my goal, there was a little voice in my head that said: “Maybe you won’t finish it if you won’t be able to do it. Maybe this isn’t the year for you.” And so that counter mind is what stops entrepreneurs. Now if you had a job, if this was you working for a boss, you’d have no room for counter mind. You’d say: “Well, maybe I shouldn’t actually post this new thing. Maybe I shouldn’t tweet out, maybe I shouldn’t Instagram this photo of what I’m selling and show people what I’m selling.” And the boss would say: “You have to do it.” And you go: “All right, I have to do it. It’s on him, it’s now her issue. It’s their problem. It’s not me.” But in reality when you’re an entrepreneur that voice is there and that’s what crushes you. And so the punch is to punch that inner critic what I call the counter mind. Punch it, punch it in the face and when I say that to some people they go: “Oh, punch it?” because they see it as such a real thing, they almost humanize it. I’m obviously telling you to punch a concept, there’s no violence happening here but I do want you to punch that inner critic to understand that counter mind is just there to counter you. And the beads on the end of it are what I’ve discovered is that that little voice that is actually supportive that tells me: “Yeah, you do want to do this. Yeah, you’re ready to fail and who cares if people see your Instagram photo of the thing that you’re selling.” They don’t want to buy or if people see that you’re selling this thing, you’re promoting it to your friends that you’ve got this store and they don’t want to go on and buy. The little voice that says: “Who cares? I like to experiment.” I’m the type of person who wants to try and do things that doesn’t get much action. I call that the true mind. That’s the part of you that knows what is truly useful and wanted in your life. And we don’t give it enough a voice. And what I want to do is use the beads to find one true mind thought. Something like I am willing to take risks and make sure that I use my beads to stay focused on. I’ll say I am willing to take risks and I move a bead on my bracelet. People don’t see it but I’ll say it. I am willing to take a risk and move it and remind myself: I am the type of person who’s willing to take risks. And I think for anyone e-commerce people specifically you’re putting stuff out there, you’re asking people to buy. There’s a line from a movie “Barbarians at the Gate”, where the salesman who ends up running RJR Nabisco says: “Hell, Charlie. People buy you when they buy what you’re selling”. He’s a salesman all his life and he knows people buy you when they buy what you’re selling. When they don’t buy you, they’re almost rejecting you. And so that inner critic comes up a lot more that inner critic that says: “what if?” They don’t like this means they don’t like me. “What if I’m not technical enough to put this out there?” That means “I am not technical enough and who am I to own a store.” That’s what we have to punch in the face. We have to instead focus on the part that’s truly useful and wanted what I call the true mind.

Richard: I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought about that during your scotch night thing too. There probably were people who were sitting there going: “I can’t go up there and talk to him, I don’t even have a beer. Is he going to tear me apart, is he going to laugh at me because I don’t have a business yet?”

Andrew: I’m sure that happened. I didn’t think of it but you’re absolutely right. I know it happened because it used to happen to me. I would be too embarrassed to go to an event. I used to be.

Jesse: Yeah, that’s really good. Good advice on getting over that hump. I know there’s a lot of people that…”wantrepreneur” is a word for that reason, people want to be an entrepreneur. Really. They don’t really want it because if you really wanted it, you would get over that hump, you’d move the beads, get your true self out there. So that’s awesome.

Richard: What about a lower level feet on the ground daily tactical? There are so many things, there are so many opportunities. You’ve built businesses in multiple categories. How does someone focus and what should someone be focusing on these days? Because obviously, we have a lot of different kinds of entrepreneurs. But the universal thing they all have in common is they’re at least at some point in time selling something online.

Andrew: I think we need to think about online a little bit less and talk to people a little bit more. Especially, when you’re starting to understand at some point the company gets so big that it’s hard to talk to customers. But you know what, when you’re getting started, pick up the phone, call every single customer who buys just to say: “Hi, I’m Andrew. You just bought from me. I want to thank you for buying. By the way, why did you buy what? How are you using this?” Get that little bit of insight. Even if it doesn’t teach you anything about them. it’ll make them feel more connected to your business. Now I say this is somebody who… I have to say I worked out of doing it when people first bought from me on Mixergy. I was such a wuss that I didn’t contact them at all, I was embarrassed. “What if they didn’t like the product?” I remember this incredible venture capitalist heard that I was selling something for five hundred dollars. He bought it. And in my head, I thought: “Well, he’s gonna be embarrassed that he got that, he paid five hundred dollars to me.” I’m a little embarrassed because the thing isn’t right. It’s not great yet. I didn’t contact him, I never thanked him even when he sent me a note saying “I didn’t know you had this, I was glad to buy it.” I didn’t hit reply and say that. I understand that that inner critic at that counter mind is that dangerous. But I have to tell you the times and I overcome it, it’s worth it. It’s absolutely powerful. I just did a few minutes ago before you and I got started, there were two customers and I wanted to talk to the first, just bought after I know she was on the fence. I wanted to thank her and find out why she was on the fence and how she wanted to use it. I couldn’t reach her. She was in the UK but she saw that I called and left a message. She emailed me right away to say: “I cannot believe that you would do this for me.” And the second one was someone who bought something from me and hadn’t used it because he is dealing with his own internal issues. I believe this is just made me say it, he hadn’t said it out loud. So what I said to him was “I noticed that you’re talking about working on this using what I’m telling you about chatbots with a new client. What’s your next step?” And he told me it’s easy to tell someone. I said go do it. I’ll talk to you in 45 minutes. The reason I couldn’t start doing a mike check with you before this started was that he and I were scheduled to do a follow-up call. I talked to him earlier today. I said: “Let’s talk in 45 minutes” and we got on 45 minutes. And he had a little bit done and I said: “OK, now let’s talk again tomorrow” and so tomorrow morning at 10:00 we’re going to talk. I talking to him, through that I understand his problem a little bit more. He’s not ready to tell me whether it’s a counter mind issue or some other issue. We’ll find out after a couple of calls. And I think that’s really important. We think online sales is gonna do everything and eventually, we do want to get to a point where we’re as big as possible and people are just buying from us. I want that, believe me, I’m not looking to be smalltime but those little touches like talking customers helps.

Jesse: Yeah, I think that helps. I’m a PPC guy at heart so sometimes I jump ahead to what’s the perfect ad to get people to buy my stuff. But if I don’t understand what they really want or what they’re really trying to achieve, it’s really hard for me to write those perfect ads to get people to buy. That’s good.

Richard: We’ve mentioned a little bit about growing, not starting with, worrying about things being perfect all the time, really listening to your customer. What did you learn about people when you had those conversations that scotch night? Just a little bit of insight because I want to get into. I know chatbots is one of the things that you’re really into and we highly believe that could be a way to help these solopreneurs get that same insight. Maybe might not be the best use of the word but we’ll to say at scale but then they can make it be an individual conversation too. What did you learn and kind of segway into the world of chatbots and what you’re doing there?

Andrew: I’ll tell you one thing that I learned. I learned a bunch but I’ll give you one thing that took me a long time to learn but I kept hearing it over and over again. I think I said that the first guy to buy for me the five dollar product. He said: “I wanted to support you” and I was a little embarrassed. I got my stuff so bad that he’s just doing it because he wants to support me. I had to talk to a lot of customers to understand that in many ways what they’re doing is making a decision to support a creator with their money. And to me, that used to be an insult. They must not like my product enough that they just want to support me if my product was good, they wouldn’t feel sorry for me and want to support me. And then I realized something. Make those decisions all the time, all the time. There is a grocery store in Novi Valley that charges more than Amazon delivery for grocery. I do it because I just feel good supporting them. And there’s a part of my head that goes: “Oh come on Andrew, what kind of a wuss are you that you can’t just deal with this like it’s a business transaction. Stop being it’s just a little bit extra and it’s worth it.” And the support is actually really useful that one time when we got locked out of our house and I had a baby, a 2-year-old kid and I was able to go into that store and just hang out with them in there and use their phone until my wife was able to come and unlock the door so we can go in. There’s a lot to that. There’s a lot to that. And so what that taught me was to be OK that people are supportive and to make sure that I give them enough to connect with me that they want to support me. And I think other store owners might see the same thing in that people aren’t just buying what’s on your site, they’re buying who you are and it’s okay to put a little bit of who you are out there. It’s OK to say more about yourself and this is a trend that I see naturally happening on the Internet and I think we need to take it even further. Especially for smaller businesses. This is not a store. This is an individual selling something way better, way better approach.

Richard: Yet the fact that you’re bringing that up I don’t have the hard stats on it because I didn’t know we were going to go this direction. But Kickstarter is built on that right. This is just like these creators that are trying to get something done and the ones that actually got it done, it wasn’t that product actually got delivered I’d imagine. Maybe it’s better now but in the early days, there’s a lot of those products that actually didn’t even really get delivered. But they believed in the person now granted we hope they deliver the product.

Andrew: I’ll take it even one step, no, a lot of steps higher. The New York Times if you listen to the daily podcast, it’s one of the most popular podcasts in the App Store. What they do is they just break down a news story for the day. 30 minutes or so. They’ve got ads, they’re a big business but if you see when they sell a subscription to The New York Times, they don’t say: “We’ve got more news.” They don’t say: “We have this number of bureaus around the world.” They don’t say if you subscribe to the newspaper, you’re gonna get 20 new articles every year. They don’t do any of that. They don’t say: “You’re gonna be smart” or anything. What they say is “We’re the people who make the news. Hi, my name is Theo Belkin or whoever.” Who knew that they were the creators behind the New York Times anything, they are introducing themselves by name. They’re saying what they do they say: “Here’s how hard I work to create that piece that you heard a few weeks ago. And the reason I’m able to do it is because The New York Times subscribers are buying the subscription. If you want to support our work, if you want to support me what you do is you buy, you subscribe to the newspaper.” If they’re doing it on that level we have to take that to heart. And I think it helps to go onto our websites and say: “Look here’s what I’m doing, here’s how I’m putting my product together. Here’s how I screwed up.” I actually think people connect more with screw-ups than they do with the stuff that’s working well. I would emphasize some of the screw-ups a little bit to show that and give people something to latch onto and a reason to root for you. Hundred percent.

Jesse: Yeah, people that are listening. If you’re a store owner listening, how can you apply that? It’s not about your products, of course, they’re buying your products. But look at here “About us” section. Look at it. Do you have a picture of yourself? Do you tell people why you’re selling this stuff? It’s not just because I drop this stuff from China and I hope to make it make a buck. I hope that’s not your story, that’s going to be a good one. But I tell the reason why you’re selling stuff or make a video post a video. It’s not that hard to do. I love that.

Andrew: Put it out there and as soon as you say it, people’s counter minds are going off and saying: “I don’t know, people see me that, maybe my family members will know, maybe my co-workers will know, maybe my friend from high school will see this. See that I’m kind of struggling with this or who knows or maybe and will see it and think that the site is not polished enough.” Yeah, that’s where you have to really punch that counter mind in the face and focus on what you want which is to experiment to put yourself out there a little bit so that people care about your products and they will want to buy them and then also want to support your store. And if there is a problem they’ll want to help out and fix it. God knows that happened for me on my site, on Mixergy.

Richard: So what got you into bots?

Andrew: Here’s what happened. I’m glad you asked about chatbots. What happened to me was I couldn’t get my email open rates any higher or my click rates on email any higher. There was a period there where email was huge. I actually built a 35+ million dollar business. Nothing but email marketing people would subscribe to my email newsletters. I’d send them the regular messages, there’d be ads in there, occasionally I’d sell something directly. It was huge, was great, was phenomenal. I’m not anti-email even to this day because it’s what made me. But what I realized there was a period there where email had higher open high engagement. People were looking forward to it. That’s not happening anymore. And when I reach my wife like I’ve done several, seven at least times today using iMessage on the Apple chat platform when I went to Singapore because I had to run a marathon in Asia. The people who I met there, I was using WhatsApp to communicate with them. That’s a text-based app. When I talk to my co-workers, I’m using Ping to communicate with them. Again a text app we’re using, chat, chat, chat. I tried to communicate with people we love, the people we work with and still when we’re selling we’re only using email. It’s almost like we’re relegating them to second class citizens of this. Now we communicate with you because we don’t care that much about you but we communicate with our friends the other way. And I thought what if it didn’t have to be that way. Is there a way for me to use chat apps people love? I started to investigate. I actually invested in a company that started to move into this space, it’s called Assist. They created the first sets of chatbots that Mark Zuckerberg introduced on stage when he said chat can actually be used as a platform for businesses. I learned through them and I said there needs to be a company that works for smaller businesses because Assist was charging hundreds of thousands. It was over a hundred thousand dollars to have a chatbot built by them. God bless them, I was investing, so I was happy that they were doing that. I said there needs to be someone for smaller businesses. And I found this company that was barely alive but it was good called Many Chat and what they did was they said: “Look, you have an email list, great, I’m going to give you a chat list. People can subscribe to your chat messages just like they subscribe to your email list. It won’t be a text because people don’t like getting text messages but almost everyone’s on Facebook Messenger haven’t subscribed and you could send the messages, be a Facebook Messenger.” I said: “I don’t trust you”. So since I’m in San Francisco I found a company, I found someone in 500 startups, the company that invested in them. I asked that person about them and said: “Oh yeah, they’re really good company, I’ll make the introduction.” I love them, I became a user, I became a customer. I said I have to teach people about this, I became an investor in their business. And what I noticed was the more I used it, the more excited I was about it. People did like to open up messages in Facebook Messenger. My open rates were higher, my click rate I could sell with it, and so I just kept talking about it. Kept seeing people get results, kept getting more and more excited about it and became this thing that overtook my life because I that not passionate about it.

Richard: I’m hearing this underlying theme of… you really want to get to know people that you love. It sounds like micro experiments that you want to work and you want them to grow into big success but you’re willing to take these small micro experiments. And it makes me think of… I want to say it was Reid Hoffman with the LinkedIn guy where he says if you’re not embarrassed with your first release you waited too long. I believe it was him, at least someone in that PayPal mafia. (laughing)

Andrew: It was absolutely him. Wait, no, it’s… Let me confirm it actually because… Yeah, it is Reid Hoffman. Yes, absolutely.

Richard: It definitely reminds me of what you’re talking about and this is the beauty of these merchants for a low cost. They can start, don’t complain you don’t have a thousand customers right now. Like I jokingly say sometimes. Back to a few good men. A thousand customers, you couldn’t handle a thousand guys. Start out with your first one and get to know them like scotch night and feel their pain, know what they’re really looking at. You moved into chatbots because you saw that’s the way one you could solve a problem you had with open rates, but in addition to it, the deeper element of it, that I’m here in there. When you made the comment about your relegating them to a second class citizen, I also see like “Oh no, the people you love.” This is the way you communicate. Once again a lot of these people are just getting started. I know you had bot academy going and then you have another project going. What’s a way you recommend for these people who go “Wow, this is great. I’m going to make those phone calls and I’m going to get on, I’m going to try this out, I’m going to get to learn more about my customers and I like the idea boards.” Where should they get started?

Andrew: If they’re into calling their customers, the first thing they should do is get a cut when an order comes in. Just call the number and frankly text them too. If you don’t get people to pick up and they don’t, just send them a text message. “Hey, I’m a store owner that you just bought from. I wanted to say thank you personally. Can I give you a ring right now?” or not can, “I’m going to call you right now. Feel free to send the voicemail if you don’t want to talk to me.” Just a quick message like that and people love it. As for chat messages, I think we should… I think the store owners we’re listening to should recognize that they too are using chat with the people they love too or using chat with the people they work with. They should consider that that could be the way that they communicate with their customers. You can imagine something like somebody comes over to their store, they go to an Ecwid store that sells… What’s an example of something that people sell? Can we say fountain pens or specialty… you know what, specialty mechanical pencils. I don’t know why I’m a little obsessed with really good mechanical pens. Look how elegant this looks, beautiful, right? I don’t know why I care about heavy technology. And then these pencils, they had a mechanical pencil store. Imagine if I got in, they’re not ready right now to buy a mechanical pencil, I may just be gawking at it. What if there was an alert that said: “Hey, can I send you a 15 percent discount via Facebook Messenger?” There’s no place for me to type in my phone number, my name or anything, just a simple button as soon as I press it. The message is great. I just sent it over to you. Next time you buy you have 15 percent off. So I open up my Facebook messenger because my phone will vibrate and we’ll make sure that I open up the message just like it does when I get a text message from my wife. I open it up. I see 15 percent discount say: “By the way, can we tell you tomorrow about how to look for the right mechanical pencil? The differences in tips will make a difference in how you write”. Yeah, of course, the next day it comes in with a little tip about what I should look for in a mechanical pencil. Now a guy who really geeks out on them like me will enjoy that. And the next day if they say there’s a history of mechanical pencils. “Can I show you one of the oldest mechanical pencils that we know about?” I thought this was something that’s kind of new. But let’s see it and I get to see it and be involved in the world. They’re not selling me. They’re just teaching me a little bit. I’ll tell you what, when it’s time for me to buy a mechanical pencil, now these people have taught me something. The attacks didn’t get buried in my email inbox with thousands of other messages. People who taught me, the Facebook Messenger who I keep going in reading. Another tip about the history of pencils or the things I should look for in the next mechanical pencil that I’m looking for. Next time I want to buy one, I’m more likely to go buy from them, especially since I have a 15 percent discount. Or imagine if they forwarded me before Father’s Day, it’s about to be Father’s Day, or before Christmas is about to be Christmas a message. It says: “Hey, Andrew why don’t you ask the people in your life to send you a mechanical pencil that you love instead of a random present that you don’t care about.” And they make that easy. And it all happens at Facebook Messenger. All I’d have to do is press one button to give them permission and now they keep that going. So you mentioned I do have two different businesses involved in this. Absolutely. At Bot Academy I’ve been training people to do this for two almost three years now, teaching, teaching, teaching. What I’ve found is that many people like it. And if you like to learn, you can go see at But there are some people say: “I want to do it myself. Can you just do it for me?” And so I teamed up with a couple of people, including one person who you’ve interviewed here, Nick Julia. We created Chat Blender and we said: “Yeah, we’ll do it for you, tell us what you need. We will absolutely do it for you. You imagine it, we will do it.” And so if anyone wants that, they can go to And again, that comes from me talking to people who are signing up to learn from me, who want to find out how to build a bot by going at Bot Academy. And as I talk to them, they’re saying: “Well, I’m running a business. I don’t have time to learn this. I have other things on my mind. Do it for me.” Yeah. I’ll do it.

Richard: When we went there, I loved it. I wanted to wait till after the show to do it just because I wanted to be organic. But I loved how the only way you can actually communicate with you via going into the chat. I’m right that anytime I hovered over anything it was like No you’re pretty much if you want to move forward with this. You’ve been sold on and already you’re gonna have to test it out. Do you know what my partners in the business Nick Julia who you know and Steven Brady?
They also wanted to manage the whole client relationship within the chapel. They said look people shouldn’t have to use new software. What if they just message us and Facebook Messenger and say hey I need this built on my site. And we take over and do it. Just message it. We want them, like you said, to fully experience what a chat experience is like.

Jesse: Yeah, I love it. It’s owning chat basically. There is no extra flow. You’re trying to set up a chatbot, chat with me, figure it out.

Richard: I think this is where you were going next. But like do you actually, so say someone wants to do this, there’s an Ecwid user that says: “Wow, I’m into it, let’s do it.” And they go, do they actually have to know about? How like the questions to even ask you? Do you take them through a flow that helps them decide that?

Andrew: We show it to them. They feel it immediately and if they feel it and they say, this is what I want for my business, we created for them, we let them feel it first. And by feeling it, I mean if like you said, they go to a chatbot or the only interaction is press this, try the chatbot. Do you want this for your site? Great. Contact us. We’ll build it for you.

Jesse: Hmm. Great. That was something that was a thought I had when I was looking at this like, okay, great. I have a side hustle that I wanted really do chatbots for. I’ve tried a little bit, but I don’t really know what I want to do. I just want chatbots to work for me. If I have to give you guys every step, I probably could’ve done that myself, but I liked the idea of you just tell me yes, I want to do it and we’ll walk you through that process. So love it.

Andrew: By the way, this is kind of a new name. What do you think of the name Chat Blender? It feels good to me, but we created the name, it’s Chat Blender. Does it make sense to you? Does it work?

Richard: Cool. I like it. Especially it fits in with what you’re trying to do. It sounds like you’re trying to help individuals, you’re trying to help engine agencies and you’re blending conversations. I think it’s great.

Jesse: I’m liking it more. I will say I had to say it a couple of times a day because I know of a couple of other companies that start with chat. I’m like Cha-, Chat Blender. There’re a lot of companies that start with the word chat. That’s just my real feedback.

Andrew: That makes a lot of sense, actually. We were trying to use a name that felt clear enough that you’d know what it was, but it is such an overused name. But boy, finding the right domain took forever. That included the name Chad. I’m glad that you guys approved.

Richard: One of the things we want to make sure we do too, we obviously talked about and If people are interested in that, anything else, any new initiatives other than that you want people to look, things you want people to pay attention to?

Andrew: I’d love to hear back from people who said, I’ve heard Andrew say, call my customer. I’m going to suck it up and I’m going to call my customer as soon as they come in. When I get that order, I’m going to find out their number and I’m going to text them and say, I’m calling you, thanks for buying. And then call them or just call them out of the blue and say thank you. I’d love to hear from people who do that and I’m going to tell you my email address. Guys, if you’re listening to me, you can just contact me at Just say, Andrew, I called, here’s what happened. Even if it’s, I called and they didn’t pick up. Even if I, I tried to call, I hit the button, I canceled because I got a little bit scared of it or felt like there wasn’t enough time. I want to hear from you. I’d like to see you do this. We can go over tips for improving your store all day long. I could give you tips for us. Frankly. Who am I going to give you tips for SEO? Jesse could do a better job of giving you tips for SEO, but these tips are out there. I wanted to give you just a small step that will feel really weird at first and phenomenal as you keep practicing it. Call up your customers. Start with the first one, not email, call them up, see how it works, let me know. And I think you’re going to find that you’ll understand people a lot better. And by the way, full disclosure, my interest is doing it, is I want to get to know the people who take action. I want to get in their heads. It’s worth it for me to get to know their challenges that I know with what’s working, what’s not. It’s worth it for me to get to know them because anyone who’s willing to take that next step and call the one customer is somebody that I want to get to know. And that relationship will be valuable in the future. So absolutely, I’d love to see them do that. And there are lots of other ways to talk to customers, but let’s start with that.

Jesse: That’s perfect. I love the challenge for our listeners out there, let’s take action. Got the beads. We got the punch. Get over that home. I love it. I love it. Richie, any last questions here?

Richard: Nope. I just want to say thank you. Staying true to form. We ask something he could promote and he wanted to help people, so appreciate you, Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you.

Richard: True to form. As we always experience, every time we listened to you and now we get to chat with you and we’re actually going to be signing up a whole another story, but we’re going to be checking it out.

Jesse: Because we feel pity. (laughing)

Richard: We just want you to call us and ask me. (laughing)

Andrew: I will see you on Chat Blender then. Thanks, guys, for having me.

Richard: Yeah, good stuff. Thanks for everything. Appreciate it.

Jesse: Thanks, Andrew.

Want to be a guest?

We want to share interesting stories with the community, fill out this form and tell us why you would be a great guest.

We use cookies and similar technologies to remember your preferences, measure effectiveness of our campaigns, and analyze depersonalized data to improve performance of our site. By choosing «Accept», you consent to the use of cookies.