Episodes

Kevin Hale

Kevin Hale

Kevin is a Senior Product Manager at Survey Monkey, which acquired his startup, Wufoo. Currently, Wufoo has over a million users, yet they took very little venture capital financing and focused obsessively on the product and support.

TOPIC KEVIN COVERS

  • What kind of growth did Wufoo achieve before it acquired in 2011
  • What tools did he use to get good data
  • How deep it runs in the culture at Wufoo and Survey Monkey
  • How did he come up with the name Wufoo
  • What does it mean to have a support-driven design or development kind of culture
  • What kind of redesigning the survey monkey creation experience
  • His best advice that he can give to any startup or entrepreneur that’s trying to grow
  • And a whole lot more

LINKS & RESOURCES

WATCH THE INTERVIEW

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READ THE TRANSCRIPTION

Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor and today I have Kevin Hill with us. Kevin, thanks for coming on the program.

Kevin: What a pleasure. Thanks for having.

Bronson: Me. Yeah, for sure. Now, Kevin, you are the senior product manager at SurveyMonkey, a company that many of us are familiar with. But you actually were at a different company before that that you co-founded, which was Woo Fu, another pretty popular company. And you guys were acquired in 2011, is that correct?

Kevin: Yeah, that’s correct.

Bronson: Yeah. So let’s talk about Wolfe for a little bit, because a lot of the work you’ve done at SurveyMonkey kind of began there. Right. So what kind of growth did Wu achieve before was actually acquired in 2011?

Kevin: In the beginning years, I think it’s pretty steady growth. But by the time we got acquired, we had been doing it about five years where up to 500,000 users. And in terms of the forms and the reports that we were giving out to people, whether they knew they were or not, it covered about 2 to 5 million people. Well.

Bronson: You know, when you say you have 500,000 registered users, you know, you think about Facebook has, you know, a billion or so, give or take. But you guys are doing Forbes. I mean, this isn’t a social network and you have half a million users. I mean, that’s incredible, right?

Kevin: Yeah. And then just in the last two years, I think we’re getting close to a million users now. So like in the first five years, you know, took it about 500,000. And the last two years, we doubled that. Yeah, that’s that’s insane.

Bronson: There’s also a graph that you publish online, talks about how much fundraising has raised as opposed to how much revenue you guys have. So if people have a chance, they should go check that out because you guys had hardly any initial investment and yet you did a lot better than other people with a lot more money, right?

Kevin: Yeah. We raised $18,000 from Y Combinator, one of the first Y Combinator classes, and then we only raised $100,000 from two angels. Yeah. And then after that, we never raised another round of funding. We were profitable nine months later after we showed our first prototype at Demo Day. Mm hmm. And we just never needed anyone’s money.

Bronson: And so, yeah, it’s a great success story, and that’s why I’m going to be really interested in kind of behind the scenes. What made that happen? Because what happened to woo hoo is very unusual. It is not the norm in so many ways. Now, in 2008, Jacob Nielson named Woo Fu, one of the top ten user interfaces for the web. This is quite an accolade. Jacob Nielsen When they, you know, bestow that on somebody, it’s very meaningful. This was an interface that was primarily created by you. Is that correct?

Kevin: Yeah. At the time, there was only the three founders still. Mm hmm. So my responsibility on that was most of the marketing stuff and the user experience design.

Bronson: Yeah. Perfect. So let me ask you this. How important do you think the user interface is in general for user adoption and user retention and all those kinds of growth metrics?

Kevin: I’m actually mixed on this. I mean. As a designer, I have a certain level of taste, so I like my apps to look and feel a certain way, and I have a high level sort of esthetic expectations for the apps. But I actually think the success of the app has less to do with just the looks, but the iteration and the commitment to users over time. So I believe it’s it’s much more than just sort of the look and feel. I think you have to spend a lot of time iterating over time and spending time in front of users and getting it to a place where you get a perfect match like any sort of relationship. Like I don’t think you hit the nail on the head on your first go ever. Yeah.

Bronson: So let’s talk about that a little bit online. You’re quoted as saying, quote, What most people don’t know is that designing software that looks good is often the easy part. The real trick is designing software that is both effortless to use and highly profitable. Most of the great software you see is a result of endless iteration guided by good data in quote. Right. I love that that phrase that a quote there. So tell us, you know, the end of it. You say great software you see as a result of endless iteration guided by good data. What is good data? Because that kind of speaks to that process you just talked about.

Kevin: Right. So you can get in trouble in terms of like if you’re just collecting data willy nilly and then you sort of have a hypothesis of what you sort of want on your app, sort of the direction of that to go or you have what are sort of personal sort of agenda for like the design and stuff. And so it’s easy for people to sort of justify decisions that they want to sort of make. So the trick is making sure that if you run a B tests or multivariate testing, that you do things in a way that you get to good confidence scores and intervals, that you are testing the right sorts of things, and that these are things that are backed up by sort of the vision of the apps. Because a lot of a lot of the times. You can say, well, this is something that is questionable or this is something, hey, we could easily test this and then you go through the tests or what have you. And then ultimately what the test will show you is that you can do something that is not aligned with sort of your brand or the ultimate vision of the app and stuff. And just because the numbers show that it’s better, does it also mean it’s something that you should pursue? So there’s a number of times that we’ve been shown that we’ve done a couple of tests and it ended up being like, Well, okay, the data shows this, but this doesn’t really work for us, so we’re going to end up not going with this anyway, even though it shows that this definitively is going to work on the metrics just because it didn’t feel right how it’s going to do this. So sometimes good data is just about making sure you’re looking at it with good eyes.

Bronson: I gotcha. So it’s not just, you know, the metrics rule everything. It’s that you have a vision for your company and the metrics have to support that. But they don’t lorded over that brand and that vision and the long term values and goals of what you’re creating. That makes a lot of sense. What tools do you use to get good data? You know, everyone has a kind of toolkit of apps they prefer or ways they prefer to get data. What are some of the things in your workflow that you actually use to get this good data?

Kevin: Gotcha. So there’s some of the easiest stuff that we do in the early stages is just. One on one. Like user testing. So we’ve used user testing icon. We’ve used Silverback, which is a desktop mac software and a lot of it is really, really small just sitting people in front of interface that have never experienced before and just watching them go through the stuff. So that’s nice because it does like video recording. User testing is nice because you can do remote testing from large sort of audiences and then also assigned tasks that are influenced by you actually being there and present in terms of sort of analytics sort of track on our side, we use a lot of internal tools and we have very interesting customer support focused sort of design process. And so a lot of the stuff that we have design around is tracking. How self-service components are being used, like how often tooltips are being accessed or used or utilized, where people are falling through the cracks in terms of customer support or having problems with the issues end up being sent to customer support. And then in terms is like typical sort of product design stuff. In the early days, we use Google Analytics like anyone else at SurveyMonkey because of the scale at which they sort of operate. We have to use some enterprise level tools. So we use Splunk and site spec, which are both sort of things that you saw on sort of end here. But I’ve also used Optimizer and Mixpanel and Segment Iot to sort of piece all of those things together and those also worked really, really well. But for the most part, like I try to keep the toolsets and processes really, really simple. Like anything that I’m trying to look for, I want to get to a decision really quickly. And so it’s a matter of not spending too much time on building in the experiments and making sure I’m spending time actually fixing bugs and getting the process there. So we always try to do the minimal amount of testing possible.

Bronson: So you mentioned customer support just now. And you know, you have some interesting views on customer support, interesting and how deep it really runs in the culture at Woof who and SurveyMonkey. And let’s start with the whole idea of first date. You give presentations where you talk about the first interactions between the UI and the user is like a first date. What do you mean by that?

Kevin: Yeah. So when we first started coming out with the we knew we didn’t want to build any kind of software. We want to build this software that people wanted to have a relationship with. And that was because we just kind of like understood that people are social creatures and they can’t help but create relationships with the things they interact with over and over again. Whether that’s a brand, the cars you drive, the software that you use and the clothes that you wear. And so we figured that it was going to be important for us to sort of help shape and be proactive about how that relationship. So we actually looked into the research on how relationships work between human beings, and we literally tried to just sort of copy them and try to create processes to sort of mimic that, to sort of building good, strong brand. So the research that we looked at was how sort of first dates and first impressions work and relationships first start, and then how sort of existing relationships work over time. And so when it comes to first dates, there’s something about them that makes things like really, really special relationship. So if I ask you to tell me about your first kiss or how you proposed to your wife or your first date. Like those are stories that you have on the tip of your tongue and are the ones you tell over and over and over again the origin story of the relationship. And they’re actually the word of mouth story of every kind of relationship that you sort of have. And it’s sort of the ones that you tell about your brand. So, for example, if you’re like on a first date with someone and they start like picking their nose, for instance, and to question to do that, that’s going to the end of the day because expectations for the day are so high. But if you’re married to someone for like 30 years or what have you, they’re on a Barcalounger now, like digging for gold. You don’t need that. They call your lawyer filing for divorce. Right. Something else that happens over sort of the structure of a relationship that helps you sort of give people the benefit of the doubt. So for us, we knew that first impressions were always going to be part of the funnel process in the typical sort of web development, sort of workflow for customer development. So what we did, we said, All right, we’ll look at all the places where people like first experience our brand, our company, our app. And so the typical things like your home page, your landing pages for advertisements and things like that. But I think what makes the biggest difference between people in terms of like people saying like I had a remarkable first date is people going the distance and so get the first emails the first have you ever see any part of the interface, the log in link like we go down to green, no details like the first time you see any part of the app. Can we do this in a way that it’s going to be remarkable that people would say like, Oh, at least they thought about me in this way or, you know, they did this little thing and it just showed me that they cared.

Bronson: You mentioned a log in link there and that’s the cool. And because of the way you who did it. So tell us about the log in link it woofer.

Kevin: Yeah. So if you see it on our homepage, the log in link has a little dinosaur next to it just to sort of highlight that it’s unique. But when you hover over it, there’s like a little tollbooth that pops up which says Ras. And the whole point of it is just to like set a different expectation of like, this is going to be your experience coming into the app or this experience every single day. And it’s going to be different for you. Like this is going to be software, even though it’s basically a database app at its core. That’s not going to remind you that you work in a cubicle and that you have a boring office job. You’re going to have some kind of software that’s going to sort of try to delight you in some aspect.

Bronson: Yeah. And dinosaurs have nothing to do with the product, right? I mean, there’s no connection whatsoever.

Kevin: It’s just having to do with our interest. So you also find dinosaurs of all different kinds Shakespeare quotes, ninjas, robots, basically things that a 12 year old boy is like and weird people who own libraries.

Bronson: There you go. Now, that’s great. And you know those little things. Do you think they actually affect the bottom line? Like at the end of the day, does a dinosaur saying roar at me when I log in for the first time do little, you know, tidbits of Shakespeare and ninja? I mean, do you think you can actually say, yeah, like we make more money and we have a brand and we have growth in some way because of that? Or are they just extras, complete extras?

Kevin: Well, I think you have to always get the fundamentals right. The core part. I think you can’t do any of these other little touches unless you get that part right. So if you get that wrong, then all of those little things are going to make people feel like you’re focusing on the wrong things. But the fact that we get our fundamentals correctly and always this polished up little things to try to delight people are the last things we work on helps people feel like, wow, they went the extra distance rather than, oh, they’re trying to put makeup on on a peg. Yeah. And in terms of it affecting the bottom line, I like to think so, but I’ve never run an app that works or operates any other kind of way. So I couldn’t actually give you a direct comparison. But I do know that it does not affect our bottom line in terms of we have tons of enterprise clients, people and brands of all different shapes and sizes, and we operate internationally on a global scale and we’ve never had or lost a client as a result of us looking odd or trying to be a little bit too much fun. I think if you think about it in terms of like real human relationships, people who work inside of these larger organizations, companies, they’re actual people. And people want to interact with software and with a team that they know is going to be kind of fun, has a sense of humor, sort of really gets them and is thinking about them in an interesting way rather than thinking about them as just another sort of line item on a spreadsheet.

Bronson: Yeah. And you’re speaking to the fun kind of aspect to everything. How do you actually come up with the name Woofer?

Kevin: Oh, we had some friends who in our Y Combinator class, and he wrote a site called Instant Domain Search, and he gave us a list of like five letter domain names that were available. And the one that struck me was one that had two components of bands that I really loved at the time, which is Wu-Tang Clan and two fighters. And I said, like, this is this is one that calls out to me. And in the beginning, one of my co-founders actually didn’t like the name. And he was just, I don’t know, it’s kind of weird and no one knows what it means or what have you and stuff. But he mentioned it to his girlfriend at the time and about a week later he calls her back and says, Hey, do you remember that name that we’re like, tossed around trying to think of? Just like I think it’s called boogaloo and stuff. And he’s like, okay, so you.

Bronson: Are awesome.

Kevin: So and so.

Bronson: And it’s just great to see how you’ve built a company there with Wu Foo doing so many things that people don’t do, you know, with dinosaurs and robots and a name like Wu Fu. You broke all the rules and yet you were allowed to and actually helped you because you got the fundamentals right. So I love that point you made that if you if you put this polish on without the fundamentals, then you become a joke. If you put the polish on with the fundamentals, you become clever. And that’s really it’s a differentiator. Now, going back to support again, you guys, I don’t know if you coined this phrase or if you just adopted it, but you guys were proponents of something called support driven design and support driven development. Explain that idea to us. What does it mean to have a support driven design or development kind of culture?

Kevin: I gotcha. I mean, Chris Ryan and I were starting a company and then we were getting to the process of hiring people. We were trying to think of like we did with our app, like how can we run and build up this company in an interesting way as well? And is there some kind of insight that we can have that can sort of make this different? And at the time, all three of us have been doing all the customer support for with it for the first like two years of that. And we knew that that experience completely transformed us both in terms of like our attitudes towards building software, but how we maintained the quality of the software, how we design and build things, and how it affected every part of the process of how we sort of think about running the company. And we, we noticed that in other companies that we had talked to, that there’s this broken feedback loop between the people who build the product and the people who have to support it. And a lot of times what ends up happening is, especially technical co-founders, you get to the stage where you finally have some money and what you want to do is get back to this place where you were before you had any users, the pure sort of creation step, where everything you do is something new and you’re building something from scratch. And as builders, that is a new. Really appealing stage. And what ends up happening is once you start getting users and you get revenue, what you do is you try to divide and conquer and you try to have other people take care of the stuff that you don’t want to have to deal with. And the.

Bronson: List is usually customer support.

Kevin: From the very thing that actually can make your app great. And this was backed up by lots of different research. Jared Spool over user interface engineering. He did a study where you talked about like exposure hours to interface teams actually directly affects the quality of the app software. And if you don’t have this direct exposure with customers, I think it’s like at least 2 hours. Every six weeks you end up having your software get worse over time. So we said, okay, if the feedback loop is the problem is that the people who build the stuff are going to do the customer support or what have you, and we want everyone to have an understanding of that. The problem seems to be a sense of humility, like the people who build the stuff feel like they’re too good for this stuff. It’s too good to get the insights and the people that are building or using their stuff is like doing it wrong. And so we said we need to make sure there is a sense of responsibility, accountability and humility, especially in the process of software development. So we said, all right, we’re going to just add two things to it. And the first thing was everyone at our company, customer support and support driven design or development. That’s right. That’s exactly that simple. And it’s no different than other sort of agile practices which are meant to like build software in a quick way, but also maintain a high level of quality and let you be flexible. So whether it’s your agile practices with Scrum or what have you or test, you’ve been developed, all of that’s meant to do it. It’s like, how do I build stuff? So that’s high quality when it goes out to the users, but also lets me be flexible. And I thought our feeling was like, well, if you just have, everyone have to do the customer support. And you make sure that you have sort of a continuous deployment process where you possibly pushing stuff out to fix the things as you’re like helping people. Then your QA costs go way down on your understanding and empathy with the user goes way up and then people start thinking about software in a different way when they’re building it. So for example, you just have processes like when we go through design reviews like, Hey, this is missing tooltips, right? There’s not stuff in the interface that helps people out or people are very cautious about adding new interface elements because it’s like, okay, how do I add this without being confusing? We don’t announce any software unless there’s good documentation for it because they build screencast work and it’s part of the people who build the build the software that are now responsible for those things. And it turns out there’s like some really nice side effects that we’ve discovered. So in a culture or in a company where everyone is responsible doing customer support, whether you’re a designer, developer, engineer or even the book keeper or the founders, if everyone’s doing customer support, what ends up happening is the support that you give is the very best support that can possibly get. And people don’t suffer the most knowledgeable, they know the best places to fix the stuff and they’ll be able to help people. And it really sort of. Intimate way that is also extremely knowledgeable to the users. Of course, in order to have a culture that works like that, you have to hire for a specific type of an individual. I would say many engineers, especially out here in Silicon Valley, would like doing things the way we do just because they’re not people person. They don’t feel like it’s their job to sort of like interact with users. And they they wouldn’t find a home in my apartment. But the ones who are willing to sort of take a chance and like buy into the process realizes how much more rewarding it is. And that’s the other thing, is this direct connection with users. People start seeing like, Oh, the work that I do actually has extreme meaning, and they start to immediately see the contributions that they make have direct impacts both to the bottom line of the company. But in terms of just like satisfaction in their own work, because typically helping people and seeing the fruits of that sort of labor.

Bronson: Yeah. No. And, you know, it’s interesting because right now it’s all the the rave of this, you know, customer development. You know, the lean startup is all about customer development, getting out of the building, talking to customers. But it’s almost like with, you know, with support driven design and support driven development, you’re doing customer development all the time nonstop 100% of the time, right?

Kevin: Yeah, exactly. Like our developers at the time, we’re getting 4 to 6 hours of direct customer experience every single week. Yeah. And so it’s hard. It’s really easy when we have our scrum to say, Oh, what’s the next thing we should be doing? It’s like, Well, I have these four takes, you know, bug stuff that I have to fix right away. Or like these are what our users are constantly asking us and this is what we should build. And you don’t have to spend like a certain. We usability study are we have to like dove into the stuff like you don’t have a separate process like everyone is just in tune and then we just can get started right away, which is sort of really efficient, surprisingly. Yeah. And it turns out we had a four and a half day work week and we and so the half day was where we pushed off all our meetings and stuff on Friday. So we had four days dedicated development, but developers to the first couple of years that we had one of those days dedicated support. So we were building incredible numbers of features with developers only being assigned to three days worth of development a week and then one day doing customer support. And some people might say like, that might make me really inefficient, but I’m telling you, I would put our team against any team out there, and you can see it in terms of the Jacob Nielsen sort of reward. Like we were a person company at the time and we beat out other teams with large usability budget and lot of it had to do with just we were extremely to the user and we constantly iterated to sort of match and fix those issues that delight them as much as possible.

Bronson: Yeah, I mean, so far, you know, you’re very product driven. I mean, that’s obvious. I mean, you talk about the core of the product having to be right. And, you know, that’s a part of growth. You know, growth isn’t just something you do after the product. It is the product is everything you do. And so this, you know, support driven design and support driven development, it essentially leads to growth when it’s done right because your products improving and when the product improves, that allows you to have real growth. And then you can put the cool log in, you know, Tyrannosaurus Rex as the extra. But I think this is actually the fundamental thing that’s driving the growth. You know, I mean, would you disagree with that?

Kevin: No. For the first four years of Google, you see sort of our growth curve. We didn’t spend any money on traditional marketing, advertising or what have you. All of that was through word of mouth. And I’m going to say like word of mouth mean because people’s experience with us and then the help that they got, if they ever had any issues, helped slip by like, Oh, these guys are people that we can trust and search management and work with. And yeah, I don’t know, I think. We didn’t focus on growth. We didn’t have like a growth team or what have you like. We were like, okay, we’ll do everything we can to make sure that culture is part growth, a very maintainable sort of level, which is very different from the growth of our user growth. And so you focus on all these amid all these self-help processes to make things work. And then we say, like, if we do the right thing, we focus on the right stuff, the growth just happens. Mm hmm. And it just kind of it worked out that way. And, yes, that takes, like, a big leap of faith. But I believe, like. Our company culture was so happy and it was such a delight to run that kind of company. And it was really satisfying both in terms of like work satisfaction, but also just work life balance where you feel like, you know, I’m building stuff to try to trick people into buying things. Like our customer support was to the level where we would keep track of what our competitors were doing. And so if a user was asked this for a feature that we didn’t have and we knew it was going the product roadmap or what have you any time soon to be, tell them like, sorry, we don’t have this feature, but here’s a competitor. We know their team, they are really good people and they have a feature that you’re looking for. We highly recommend that you give it a try and let them know that we sent you. And you know, hopefully whatever we build up this feature, maybe you might want to be added to a mailing list like when this gets the boat and whenever we build it out. Well, you know, but you know, yeah, more times than not, these people never even left. And we had the sort of maleness of every feature that we develop. We have this mailing list set up, say, Oh, we know these people were looking for this feature. We let them know proactively and they’d be like, Wow, that’s amazing. You guys like delivered on this thing that, you know, I wasn’t even sure even a build up. Oh.

Bronson: What a great story. That’s awesome. Now, as much as you focus on product, you also do have a knack for kind of the the pure marketing stance I think as well, because I looked online and at one point you guys gave me a battle ax. Is that right?

Kevin: Yeah.

Bronson: Tell me about that.

Kevin: A couple of years ago, we wrote we wrote our API because we’ve been working with it become a platform for like form development stuff. And this was the third version of API and it was on rest principles and we thought, okay, this is pretty like really, really great and we want people to build apps on top of it. We thought pretty confident about it, but like how do you get people to do that? How do you get people to take a chance and build on top of your code? And we heard some companies doing API contests and we thought Muslim, they just got like iPads or iPhones at the time and it didn’t feel like a wealthy way of doing stuff. And so we’re trying to think of in the charity way in terms of like our company are the founders are big sort of medieval fanatics. And like for the anniversary for a company, we take everyone to medieval times, for instance, and we thought maybe we can do something along those lines in terms of our interest. So we contact some people over at Armor dot com and we said we have a picture of this battle, except we were like, can you custom boards? This person is like, Oh yeah, that would be the way to do that. So we had the building that we blogged and tweeted about it and we said, okay, for the API contest, if you’re when first place you will wear this custom forge battle ax. And it’s one of those things where again, like the first impressions of it, people saw we’re like, holy crap, that. And the word of mouth spread really, really far. And it’s one of those things where you can’t help but want to kind of work on this kind of API because you get to tell the people, like, I got to work on this code because I could win a giant medieval weapon as a result of it. And so, yeah, it’s really great. And we had like 25 great submissions. We got things like an iPhone app, WordPress plug in an Android app, like all these great stuff that for the cost of running this API contest, we could not have gotten other teams to build for us in the timescale that we had run it. So it was not a thing where we were thinking of marketing for the API contest. We were trying to think of like what would actually get us to want to do this or would get us to want to tell the story.

Bronson: Of achieving the best.

Kevin: Marketing people that our interest to try to figure it out rather than trying to look at like what’s something gimmicky we could try to figure out to do. And obviously we did not have a sort of legal personnel or counsel on our team will handle that stuff. So we didn’t think about that. But thankfully here at something like a, they’ve got legal counsel here. So if we ever do anything really, I guess in the future this is like we will help you out. Just make sure you tell us.

Bronson: Yeah, I can see you now. You know, let’s do a battle after like. No.

Kevin: Well, actually, ceremony is actually really great about understanding our culture a lot, and so they can just, like, talk to us and we can help do it in a way that we will be like. I’ll give you one great story about serving monkey, like really understood with you. When we first got acquired, one of the first objective or goals was to help internationalize movies. And we wanted to our first language we want to do was Spanish. So we were building out move to Espanol and it withdrew. In all these different parts of the app, we have all these Shakespeare quotes, some of my favorite Shakespeare quotes. I kind of like align with sort of what’s going on in the end. And when I would point to the localization process, I said to the VP of internationalization here, I’m not so sure that translating these Shakespeare quotes to Spanish is going to really work that well for the other cultures that can give them the same sort of feel. And she’s like, Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s like, maybe we could use like literature from their own language. That’s sort of where the impact. And so we came up with the idea of using Don Quixote.

Bronson: So you’re going to say.

Kevin: Oh, well, but the thing about what like he did was the very next day I come in to work and and they come to me and they say, okay, Kevin, we have schedule an appointment with you with a Don Quixote scholar over at San Jose University. And you talk with him and he’s going to you like get all the quotes for you. I mean, they also notice you have an eighties band, The Journey band lyrics for some of the text examples. And we threw these going to find 80 Spanish bands also like the lyrics for it. And I was like, okay, different level of budget and set up here. But they totally embraced sort of like our culture and how we sort of do things that we do so that they can been an awesome partner.

Bronson: That’s great. Well, let’s talk about SurveyMonkey a little bit here. When you guys came on board, one of the things tell me if I’m wrong that you were tasked with was kind of redesigning the the survey creation experience. Is that right?

Kevin: Yeah. So it’s.

Bronson: About that. Tell me about that process a little bit.

Kevin: Yeah. So I read two teams are running the goofy team and then we started building on this project to redesign Survey Monkey’s survey creator and they call it create. So the new system is going to be called New Create. And what’s interesting is that the old create is was initially designed in like 1999. So there’s a lot of legacy and a lot of trust for it. And we were rewriting it from dot net, the python and we’re going to use whatever JavaScript libraries and whatever techniques for it. We are just. I think last week launched I think two weeks ago, we launched an AB test of the old versus new systems. They’re going side by side. So it’s too early to say how things are going to sort of play out, although we’re doing pretty well in terms of new grit. But the biggest goals for the app was the design, the app, so that it didn’t disrupt, sort of. The Chinese are expanding. So we couldn’t like completely go to in left field to sort of build something. We had to do something online with help people gradually go to the. But the biggest thing we wanted to do was simplify the process because Serbian wiki has tons of question types that they’ve added over time. A lot of times it’s gotten very confusing. So my job was a lot of times like working with party editors and writers to try to figure out like what is language and terminology, the maps, these things a lot more self-evident and how we condensed this code so it’s a lot easier for the user. So I’ll give you one example. Survey Monkey has this question type called the matrix and drop down. So it’s a it’s I was in columns but all those like bunch of drop that amaze and it’s actually sort of like. For a person that’s filling out a form, it’s a nightmare to use. And so I was trying to figure out, like, why do we have this question and why is it being used so much for like how difficult actually is to do? So we had to dove out into the process of it and we found out that to add a regular dropdown question, it was buried inside of this multiple choice question. Those like a different display type. So when people were trying to think of like, how do I add a dropdown question, they will look through all the question types and they would know that multiple choices where you find adding a drop change esthetic and said they would see matrix would drop that and they click that and so I said and how we were able to validate that assumption is that we looked through the product data and we found out that 95% of the questions that were matrix of dropdowns were one by one grids of these questions. So people were like using that question and then pairing it down is what they really wanted was a dropdown. And so that was like a question type that we were able to say, okay, this is going to come into the new system, we’re going to have migrate some people over. So it was looking at all of those sort of assumptions and how things got built and try to simplify and clarify and sort of surface a lot of features that a lot of people didn’t realize.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. When do you guys think you’ll be kind of unleashing the new create for everyone?

Kevin: Yeah. So because of the scale at which SurveyMonkey works, it takes a while to sort of validate certain major betas like this, I think is going to take 3 to 6 months before. It will roll out to all the users privately. Once we sort of validate that stuff. But you can quote me on that because anything can happen. So of course, it’s going really well right now. And so we’re really, really excited about it because it’s a it’s much more with you feeling in terms of sort of the drag and drop sort of interface of it. And we’ve got it’s a little bit of character to it. So for example, to teach because in the old survey monkey there’s no sets of drag and drop. So to teach people how to do drag and drop, we created like banana targets. And so you can grab questions and drop it on a banana target and then like sort of peeled banana shows off and points and things like that.

Bronson: Yeah, that’s cool. So, I mean, you know, you’ve grown UFU, you know, substantially your pa SurveyMonkey, which is growing substantially. So you’ve been the reason things grow. You’ve been around things that are growing. So tell our audience is kind of the last response here. What’s the best advice that you can give to any startup or any entrepreneur that’s trying to grow? Because the people watching this are trying to acquire users, they’re trying to retain users, they’re trying to get revenue off of users. They’re trying to do what you’ve already done. What’s the best advice you have for.

Kevin: Emotion is earlier in this interview. And I think it is I think the best path to growth is not to obsess over it. I think people who are sitting around trying to think of how do we add our loops and all this stuff, like what you end up doing is you’re growing for growth sake. And I think if you do. This very core of a commitment which is build something that people really want and make sure that people feel satisfied by it. And then you build in processes so that their long term goals and your long term goals are aligned. Then refined you like what you end up having because people want you to use your stuff. They recommend your stuff to other people and that they don’t want to leave. And I think also sort of keep that at heart. You’ll be surprised at how well how well and how far that will take you. And once you get off that path, you know, that’s when you will start trying to do little tricks and stuff, which might ultimately in the long term. No impact, sort of like is this the kind of company that wanted to work for this kind of product? They won the belt. Is this the kind of stuff that I want my users to think?

Bronson: Yeah, sounds like very wise advice, Kevin. So again, thank you for taking time out your schedule and thanks for coming on the show.

Kevin: Thank you so much.

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