Andrew Gazdecki is the founder and CEO of MicroAcquire, the world’s most founder-friendly startup acquisition marketplace. MicroAcquire helps entrepreneurs buy and sell startups.
After founding and later selling two successful startups, Andrew decided there needed to be a better way to connect buyers and sellers in the startup marketplace. He founded MicroAcquire to fill this void in the startup acquisition arena.
In this episode, Andrew shares how he grew his Twitter audience from 30,000 to 70,000 followers in a few short months. He uses his connections with others, his partnerships, his brand, and savvy marketing techniques to boost engagement and attract followers. It’s a fun and entertaining episode, and I think you’re going to enjoy it.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The one thing you should spend at least half of your startup’s budget on
- Proven strategies and tactics to grow your Twitter account
- How to bootstrap your business and retain your autonomy
Links & Resources
- Empire Flippers
- Bizness Apps
- Sam Parr
- Y Combinator
- Nick Huber
- David Cancel
- Josh Pigford
- Naval Ravikant
- Dharmesh Shah
- The Ladders of Wealth Creation blog post
Andrew Gazdecki’s Links
I’m a big fan of stair-stepping and entrepreneurship. One of my favorite tweets that I’ve ever written is, “Start with an agency, get to cashflow positive, and then bootstrap an asset—whether that’s a SaaS company or your e-commerce business—sell that asset, become financially secure, and then do whatever you want.”
Along the way, you prepare yourself for the next stage of business.
In this episode, I talked to Andrew Gazdecki, from MicroAcquire. Andrew started a couple other businesses and sold two of them. In that process, he decided there needed to be a better way to buy and sell businesses. So, that’s where MicroAcquire came from. Their marketplace originally focused specifically on SaaS businesses, but they broadened to all of software.
The reason I want to talk to him—he doesn’t write a traditional newsletter or something like that—but he uses audience really well to grow MicroAcquire. He uses his personal brand connections with others, partnerships, a bunch of fun things.
We get into how he grew his Twitter audience from 30,000 followers just a couple months ago, to over 70,000. His approach to Twitter, some of the arguments or beefs that he started with TechCrunch and others, and where he thinks those lines are.
We also get into how he uses Cameo; he has these great ads announcing partnerships and others from Russ Hanneman on Silicon valley talking about this, and they’re really entertaining.
So, there’s a lot of fun things in this episode, and I think you’re going to like it.
I’ll get out of the way, and we’ll dive in.
Andrew, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me, Nathan. Always a pleasure to be chatting with you.
There are a lot of companies in the brokerage/help-me-sell-my-business space. I think of Effie International, Empire Flippers, Flippa, all of these. So, one, you’re going into a really crowded market with MicroAcquire, and then, two, you’re coming at it like you’re a force of nature.
Sam Parr and I we’re actually talking about this, of how some people start a project and it’s like, “Oh, I’m going to do this thing.” And then other people do effectively the same thing. I mean, it’s different in a lot of ways, right? But the same category, and come in and just completely dominate, and grow so fast, and it feels like a fundamentally different thing.
What’s your take on that, of coming into a crowded space, and then the amount of momentum that you’ve come in with?
Yeah. I have a lot of respect for all those companies that you mentioned, and appreciate the compliment.
The market that is specifically acquisitions hasn’t seen a lot of innovation in a decade. Two of the businesses you mentioned are service businesses, Flippa being a marketplace. I looked at that, and I just thought, there’s an angle here where sellers could benefit more than the buyers, and I felt buyers were benefiting. So, I took a left while everyone was going right.
Then coming in from an entrepreneur’s view instead of a buyer’s view, or an investment bankers view, or an MNA advisor view, this was me saying, okay, I’m gone through two acquisitions, I think I have a few unique insights into what it would take to make me comfortable putting my business, generating millions of dollars, on a new marketplace. Then, what information and educational pieces would I need to feel comfortable to facilitate an acquisition.
So, I just built what I felt acquisition should be. We still have a long way to go. We’ve done a really good job of connecting buyers and sellers, and all the acquisitions are facilitated off platform. We’ve been working on a lot of tooling to really add value to the acquisition, if that makes sense.
So we’re looking to innovate on things like due diligence or even simple items like writing a letter of intent or streamlining escrow, because everyone complains about escrow.com. so yeah, I mean, sometimes it just happens in markets. Like a new entrant comes in with a different angle towards the problem And different viewpoint. and I think my unique, insight there was just, I had been on. The side of the table that maybe the other, companies had not. but it’s also, a giant market. So I, think, arising boat lifts all tides. So, you know, we’re here to my require. I just made my group or to help entrepreneurs get acquired and, and, succeed.
And so, I think also as, you know, Mike require pick steam and helps everyone else in the market as well. So, but, yeah, I don’t have a good answer to that. I don’t know. I think if I, if I, this, this will sound cheesy, but you know, I, I I’d like to say I built my group hire would love, like I launched it in the middle of the pandemic. I didn’t have a business model. I had no idea how I was going to make money. I just knew I wanted to work with entrepreneurs and startups. And the rest is kind of history, you know, along the way, talking to customers, getting feedback from them, pretty much everything we do is basically feedback from customers.
I’m not Steve jobs or anything like that. So I can’t read people’s minds. So I ask what, what ideas do you have? but yeah, it’s been, it’s been a fun journey so far. my group is about to turn two, which is pretty wild.
That first version, that you launched, what did that look like? What, what was the very early stages of it?
The first version was, it was just a simple marketplace with a couple of. Changes that I haven’t seen in the market. One was privacy and anonymousy and then no fees or commissions for founders. So it was the first marketplace where you could meet buyers and sell your business without paying a 15% commission like you typically would with a broker or something like that.
So I think that was kind of a change. And our business model today is we charge buyers for access to the platform to connect with sellers and, you know, having negotiations that lead towards negotiations. But yeah, the first version, required a lot of vetting of the buyers. Every buyer needed like a LinkedIn profile.
Some people have complained about that, but I personally would never sell my business as someone, without a LinkedIn profile. I need to know where you worked, like you know, do you have anyone that’s bad for you? not just like John 9, 9, 2, 4 5. You know, I need to know, who you are. and we’re going to add other ways of verification, but I think that was a big one. and then also real-time metrics integration. So when we launched, you could connect like Stripe and chart, mobile and probable and bare metrics to get like a real, like a nice, pretty graph, like the revenue to help with due diligence. and then also founders and everything was private. So you didn’t know what the business was.
And as a founder, you had complete control over the process. So when you were with a broker, sometimes it could be kind of showing your business to a lot of people
And you may not know who those people are. they could even be competitive to your business. And so I think what Mike required did that kind of, and I’m just guessing here because I haven’t really liked. Taking a step back and then like, what did we do? Right. you know, I’m usually thinking about what can we be doing better? we really put the founder in control. You know, they were the ones able to choose which buyers to speak to. they were the ones able to share which information they wanted to and which information they did not want to share. And again, it was completely free. So it was very low friction to get onto the platform. And then I think just the, the high, the caliber of buyers and the caliber of listing. So we vet every listing. We vet every buyer. Now that registers as a micro require premium buyer, that’s where you can contact sellers. so I think it was just kind of like, you know, going from let’s just call it like a car dealership to like a Ferrari shop that makes sense where all the cars are, That it, and if you want to know who the owner is, you have to pay for that access, but it was a very specific towards startups, specifically SaaS.
So I think that’s another thing that I’m thinking of now is we, we went very narrow at the beginning, very narrow. So we were very specific on, specifically, bootstraps, SaaS companies.
Yeah. I think the approach in different marketplaces is always interesting when, you know, a marketplace is how businesses has like is a generic category, but then the twist on it, of, the seller not paying anything. And it being the buyer who pays, you know, a subscription for access. Why I think that that makes for an interesting twist, because then you’re going to have this much higher pipeline of, you know, high quality businesses to look at.
And so if a seller is paying for that, that makes sense. It reminds me of like, Bumble as a dating app being like, yep. So within the category of dating apps, but, women have to send the first message, you know, and, and like, that little bit of a twist makes it the marketplace feel, very different and changes the dynamics of.
Yeah. I was going to say something, someone called micro fire shark tank, like if shark tank and dinner had a kid, I thought that was kind of an interesting analogy. but yeah, I’d say the, the key. The unique insights I had was again, like, from my perspective, if I’m going to list a business, I need to know who’s seeing my information. I want to be in control of, you know, what information is being disclosed or being displayed publicly. and I don’t want to commit until I really know, the quality of the buyers. And so that I think was very appealing to just being an entrepreneur. I think I. You know, understood the needs of other entrepreneurs and just kind of got it.
Right. But I’m not gonna lie. When I, when I first launched it, I have this, I keep a journal that I update every month. It’s not like a weird, you know, Hey dear diary thing. It’s I do like, what’s going really well. What are some things I’m worried about? and then things I’m grateful for, just to, you know, kind of keep it story log of my life. And before I launched my group wire, I actually, cause this idea had been attempted before, like a real startup acquisition marketplace. I think some of the other market places are more, geared towards, you know, content sites and domains and
Affiliate websites, but not real. Startups like SaaS companies, e-commerce companies, crypto companies, we’ve moved into a number of different categories.
But, I wrote in my journal, I was like, I don’t know if this is going to work, but at least it looks good. cause I, I just thought it needed to exist so bad for entrepreneurs that, we put a lot of thought into user experience and design. So it felt modern. You know, when you’re working with startup founders, you kinda, you know, you want to really build trust, like yeah, if you’re going to sell your business with us, your startup, you know, we also, we know how to build startups as well, and design them well and make them feel like something like this, this feels legitimate.
And I think that’s a, what I would call, you know, closing the credibility gap, you know, really, that first impression is so important. So we really kinda overdid the initial MVP.
Yeah. I think that design is one of those things where you can go a long ways. And it’s probably the first thing that people cut when it comes to the MPP. And that’s just, I’m like, Nope, that’s not an MVP. You have to cut features. You can’t cut like the quality of, of the design. And if I have a limited budget, I’m for sure.
Spending half of it, if not more on design. So I think you made the right move there.
Yeah, I think, I think today, I don’t know if we’re going to go off topic here, but I think a lot of startups today can legitimately have user experience in design as their competitive advantage. Just saving people, a
Couple of clicks, making things easier to use, having a product where you don’t have 50 tutorial videos, you’ve got to watch, or course you have to take. that’s a huge advantage. and there’s a lot of products that are very clunky and kind of feel like a car with, you know, like a jet ski engine added in. And I just kind of like a Jenga thing, you know, there’s just so much technical debt to the product. I think though there’s some products out there that I think could be rethought in terms of like the experience and the design they’re delivering to the customers.
But that’s, that’s probably a whole nother topic.
Yeah. Yeah. But we agree. And anyone who’s listening to this show knows that I care deeply about design. one thing that I want to ask about and spend a lot of time on is content strategy. if I go to your website and go to the about page, it just lists your title or like your, your job description and your role as marketing. and so I’m imagining that’s where you spent the majority of your time in, from the outside. It looks like content marketing is, either a very large or the largest portion of where you spend your time and how you’re looking to grow MicroAcquire. Can you talk about how you think about content marketing and the growth of the business?
Yeah, I think that was twofold. So number one, the first thing that happened to me when business apps was acquired, I had like five founder friends reach out and they said, how did you sell your business side is, is, were what, you know, so as entrepreneurs, we’re not trained to sell businesses, we’re not educated on what is due diligence, what are the legal steps of an acquisition?
So I felt it was a twofold, the problem with the benefit. And when I say two folded, not right. Prom, but well point number one. Yeah. It’s a phenomenal growth channel for us. we think heavily in terms of, you know, what is the content that, entrepreneurs will need when they’re going through an acquisition, because the more we can educate them on acquisitions, the more we’ll be able to facilitate.
And I think that’s been crucial, but then two there’s just no content in the market that like there’s books on fundraising, there’s books on marketing there’s books, on design there’s books on there’s a couple of books on, exits, but there just is such a disproportional amount of content available for everything, but a startup being acquired, that we felt, you know, there’s an opportunity here to kind of be almost a, I don’t want to say thought leader.
Kind of write the book, if you will, on, you know, this is, but also important to note is we write content for the seller, not for the buyer. we kinda think, you know, the buyers are set, you know, the buyers that we work with are, you know, private equity firms, corporate dev teams, other startups, people that, generally are sophisticated with, and also a lot of first-time buyers, but so the condoms still applies, but it gets you in the head of the entrepreneur, but we wanted to really empower the founder.
So you’ll notice every piece of content is angled towards the seller, not the buyer, if that makes sense. And I felt that was critical and just something cool to do for other founders, not like, Hey, this is an article on how to get like the cheapest SaaS acquisition possible. so we read articles on how to maximize your startups exit as.
Yeah. I mean, that, that perspective is in your, like your founding story for the company,
But then it’s interesting, like, all right, it makes sense that it carries through all of your content marketing as well, because in the same way that you have know who your customer is, which in the marketplace, you have a lot of different customers or you’re, you know, you have both sides of it, but,
That’s that’s something. Yeah, you’re onto something. So that’s something that, we determined, very, very early. So when we raised our, our seed round, I hired my former VP of product, VP of engineering. My former CFO, and my former head of marketing who’s now gone. Cause he went, he was, he was, he was like one foot in he’s started this, agency called brand arrow. so if anyone needs help with, Facebook ads or just any sort of SaaS marketing shadow, Tim brown now I told him like, Hey, you got to, I’m a big fan. I need like a micro mafia at one point. So I, I told him to dive in on that, but, we did an offsite and we, defined our culture, you know, our values, but really specifically, like you said, who was our customer?
Cause it could be so many people, it could be okay, buyers, but there’s so many different types of buyers. You know, which ones are we going to cater towards? And then there’s sellers, you know, there’s so many different types of sellers. There’s people looking to sell comments. Again, domains, Amazon FBA businesses, SaaS founders.
And so we really narrowed in, got super specific with our buyer And that really guides a lot of the decisions that we make all the way from the content to the product. I think that’s really crucial in the early days, because you can always expand outwards. There’s a theory. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but the bowling ball theory, you’ve probably gone through this with your business where, you know, you start with one sorta audience and then I one customer segment, and there’s just like these natural sort of like, you know, other segments that target for us, it was like e-commerce.
And then we’ve been seeing a lot of just miscellaneous. You know, profitable software companies. So now we’re a little bit more broad. So when I described my required of people, I say, it’s a marketplace. So profitable software businesses, not just SaaS anymore, but yeah, we started really specific with SaaS founders being, our initial customer,
Yeah. Like narrowing it on. That is always a good thing. Okay. So content strategy, I’m seeing you do a lot of different things. one at let’s just take Twitter, as a starting point. So I was looking back in August, you had 30,000 followers on Twitter. You have 73,000 followers today. You’re tweeting five to 10 times a day.
Often. Like you got a lot of, a lot of posts going out. It seems like they’re resonating, obviously from the growth and all of that. you have a lot of these single posts are like single sentence. You know, here’s an idea latch onto it, like positioning type things. So like one, one example is, instead of thinking of a hundred plus startup ideas, pick a customer you’d love to serve and solve their problems.
That gets a thousand likes, 150 retweets or more. I want to know, two things, one, tell me about your Twitter strategy of how it fits into the broader business and what you’re trying to do there. And then two, we’ll just get into what’s working. What’s not working.
Yeah, definitely. So Twitter strategy, there is absolutely none, aside from having fun. And I’m a firm believer of this, I think when people try to have a social media strategy where their goal is to grow followers. And so you start doing stuff like looking at other people’s tweets, and then you take a tweet and this how I see this all the time with some content I put out like, oh, that looks very familiar, but I don’t, I don’t, you know, I don’t care. but they’re trying to grow their audience and they’re not being authentic to who they are. And they’re trying to be, you know, they’re trying to, I guess what I’m trying to say is, Find a way to utilize, you know, social platforms in a way that you enjoy. So, one thing notice if you look at all my tweets, they’re all from my iPhone.
Like they’re not from my web app. They’re not from a scheduled Twitter thing. I just like that tweet. I remember writing that tweet. I was like, in my kitchen, I was just like, did it, you’ll also see a tweet right before this podcast. That’s just me. I was waiting for you to come on this podcast. I was like, so I think my point being, and I think this goes even broader is just, you know, if you want to be great at anything, and I’m not saying in any way, shape or form, I’ve created Twitter, but you just have to enjoy it.
And then if you enjoy it, you’re consistent at it. And then, I do have a few rules though. I don’t usually comment on people’s cause like you know, once you start getting to a certain point on Twitter, people, you can just post like Entrepreneurship is awesome. And then people have like a hundred questions and I just don’t have the bandwidth to answer all those questions.
So I usually will, I’m watching those questions and I’ll usually, if some, if something’s interesting, I’ll, use that as a new tweet. and then you get tweeted out a lot, like, Hey, follow me. Like, Hey, we’d be on my podcast. So I kind of have a rule of like stay in my lane, if that makes sense. I’ve done a little bit of like beef marketing and stuff like that, you know, I’m sure you saw me like call out like tech, Raj, or maybe like throw a couple of shots at like, just joking, like VC sort of like, you know, shit posting type stuff. And that works. It definitely works. And there’s some strategy behind that. That’s probably one part of my social media strategy that was, strategic, it’s effective, but it’s not for the faint of heart. cause you do you make people pick sides, so you’re going to upset some people and you’re going to make some people really cheer you on.
And so, I’m kind of done with that phase. that was fun.
So if someone is in that phase or they’re thinking about it, right. They, have a specific audience for their business or like a specific focus. They’ve chosen a niche and they have some strong opinions and they’re not that kind of person who’s like, you know, like let’s not cause any conflict.
They’re like, no, I’m actually, I’d be, I’d be willing to get into a little bit of conflict. what would you say what’s, what’s your advice on going down that path of like, if you’re thinking of oh, there’s a TechCrunch in your space or someone else that you might want to pick a fight with?
Did you just gotta really believe it? like, and I think it has to be factual, like what I said about, TechCrunch, as an example, just go on their website right now and see it. And tell me if you can find an article about a bootstrap startup. like, that’s all I said is like, you guys are a publication that writes about just venture backed businesses. and you know, what kind of really struck a chord with me with that was my prior company business apps. You know, we were in TechCrunch, all the time. Like they loved writing about, you know, real business building storage partnerships, you know, version 2.0 launches, you know, international exp like, you know, stories that inspire entrepreneurs.
And they moved towards, you know, this really venture backed sorta, you know, you’re, you’re either in it, or you’re not in it. And I just blindly called them out on time and then some people. were like, yeah. And then I was like, huh, maybe there’s something here. And then I just, and this is how I always think of or how I validate ideas as well as, so I have a publication now called, bootstrappers.com, which is just kind of like my.
Like what I wanted, like just, you know, I want inspiring stories, like back in like 2010, you would read articles on TechCrunch about like, two people. They just launched a product, no funding. I remember some of the writers I used to work with, are they all left? They’re all gone. It’s like a new, it’s a new company.
It’s, it’s been acquired by four different companies. And you know, some of the older writers you’re out, but, the older crew, would kind of joke and say, Hey, BC’s like, I hope you banked me one day for writing about all the companies that I discovered. and then you find it later. now the opposite is entirely true. And so I, I wanted to bring that style. You know, journalism back where it’s stories about companies making like 200,000 a year or 500,000 or 2 million. because you know what, I read an article about a company raising 200 million and then 500 million, like the next week. it doesn’t really inspire me too much.
And I think that celebrated so much today and, you know, the startup community that I think it’s a little dangerous, I think, as a young entrepreneur, like if you think the path to being a successful founder is. Get into Y Combinator, raise a bunch of funding, get featured in, you know, these magazines, because that’s what happens when you get fun.
That’s like the only way to get covered sometimes, is funding announcements. and even then it’s hard cause there’s so many. so I think that creates an environment where a lot of entrepreneurs are focused on raising capital rather than raising or generating revenue from customers.
And that was just something that I lived through.
I had a really good mentor. We’re told, are we going off topic too far?
Well, I do want to take you back to, like the idea of like picking a fight. But finish the thought with a mentor. Who’s everyone, everyone listening knows that ConvertKit is bootstrapped. I’m a huge fan of that and the same things, the same reason that you’re picking a fight with TechCrunch or that you did, I would do the same because we experienced that, you know, we could have more revenue, more customers, all of that than, anyone else, but they’re only going to write about the VC funded version.
Yeah. So so long story, short business apps, my company prior, boot shove that business, and I just had a really good mentor Christian free Freeland. And he was always challenging me to think against the difficult soak on early pap. And we were based in San Francisco for five years, eventually moved to San Diego and that’s where we exited the business. but, yeah, now that like I’m on my third, I took a little hiatus and went into crypto land for a little bit. So it got away from like SaaS and stuff like that, but now I’m back home. and yeah, just saw that and said, okay, and then actually TechCrunch did write a little bit about bootstrapping and then I’ve also seen a lot of other people start saying the same thing, like agreeing, which I think has been cool.
It, which isn’t like it’s not a bad thing that TechCrunch or any publication, I don’t want to just hone in on, on TechCrunch. because th they’re, they’ve done so much for so many founders. but yeah, other people, I feel like the first shot was fired. Like, Hey, You know, we miss the old version of, you know, maybe mix it up a little bit.
And they’ve taken some of that feedback and I’ve actually written about some bootstrap companies and then other people have kind of said the same thing. Like, you know, the startup ecosystem is really turning into this, you know, fundraise craze news cycle. And, you know, there’s 99% of other startups that aren’t going down that path.
So that creates kind of like a movement. So that was like the benefit of, of beef marketing sometimes is you, again, make people pick sides. Some people agree with it, some people don’t. yeah. So advice for anyone in terms of beef marketing, I, I, again, I, going back to my original point, it how you have to believe it, you have to believe what you’re saying.
It can’t just be like, you know, one foot in, from my perspective, Most of the major tech publication should write about, you know, businesses that are profitable and sustainable and ones that are raising a bunch of capital and going public like a good mix would be amazing because then that gives you a true picture of, you know, all the different styles of entrepreneurship, you know, the ones that are at the top of the top and the ones that are taking a more sustainable practical approach, just giving a more realistic view into the world of entrepreneurship instead of just kind of, you know, putting this one style on a pedestal.
Yeah, I mean, just get ready for, I mean, nothing bad happened. so I would just say also with beef marketing, it doesn’t have to be just, an individual Oregon or, or an organization. Like good examples. So I’ve always had a, like, kind of an, a branding, an enemy, and all my businesses for business apps.
It was a large businesses. Like our main sales pitch was, you know, Starbucks down the street, paid 2 million for their, mobile app, blah, blah, blah. You know, would you like to create that same customer experience for your customers and, you know, like David versus Goliath type story, you know, Mike group, we’re kind of fighting for the founders.
Then all the other stuff that I just talked about, but Salesforce had, their, their enemy was on-premise software. They essentially invented SaaS, you know, the company. Say a little chat thing. Yeah. They had a big campaign of just no forums. Like no one wants to download an ebook anymore, like forms go away, please. and I thought that was very clever, box.com had some beef with Microsoft, which was definitely fun to watch. I’ve I’ve been around long enough where I remember seeing in San Francisco, like, the billboard of like box, just basically saying Microsoft sucks. you know, Uber and Lyft were throne, had a food fight for awhile.
That one probably went over over the line maybe. but yeah, my point is, is there’s other examples it could be, for your business, it could be expensive. To like, I don’t know, like it could be, it doesn’t have to necessarily be like a organization or it definitely shouldn’t be a person either.
Like don’t ever like just straight up call. That’s just, that’s not cool. Like if you have a problem with a person, call them and tell them your problems, like, that’s it now. Like that’s not, I don’t, I don’t support that at all. I think that’s ticky-tacky and just a sign of just weak character, if you’re just literally, you know, trying to tear someone down for your business’s benefit,
One thing that’s interesting, I think is you probably watch some, maybe beefs between individuals is just how many of them, maybe are planned or facilitated in some way. that is interesting. Like someone, messaged me today because, sort of like Nick Huber who’s, has a popular Twitter profile under sway startup.
Hopefully we’ll have him on the show soon. He was, he posted something like controversial, which I know is one of his top of funnel tweets, right. To try to get as much attention. And so I purposely like aggressively disagreed with it, you know And then we’re just separately texting, like,
Oh, thanks for the engagement, you know Right. Because we know that by deceit, like if he strongly takes one stance and I strongly take the other stance, then like one, no one will think we’re actually mad at each other, but then too, like, it’ll get a lot more attention engagement. So a lot of people are doing. Some version of that. or if you see a happening usually between two individuals often, they’re probably on really good terms behind the scenes.
Yeah, I did not know that that’s, that’s me staying in my lane. I, I, I missed it. but yeah. I, mean that’s business entertainment, you know, there’s, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I, think there’s a line to be drawn, you know, like, If you do engage and stuff like that. number one, I think it’s always great when, like, if it’s real and then they like, like, Hey, we’re cool now.
Like, you know, we did this in pub and now like, okay, we’re on
Close that loop.
Yeah. I think, I think that’s really cool to see. but yeah, public food fights, not my thing. don’t have appetite for that or any advice, but I will say, I will say Nick is coming hard on some, some of the stuff I’ve said, like,
The, the one thing I’ll say about that though, that style like shit posting, you know, I was like some view of like VC funds just based on like shit posting and stuff like that. what I’ve noticed, ‘cause this, this actually, this is probably a good tidbit for, you know, if you’re considering, beef marketing and what happens is you draw in a type of crowd that likes that negativity and it, and that can drain on you.
And so if you should ship posts all the time, like a large amount of your followers are just going to be shipped posters, and they’re going to be, then all your comments are like, use a blah, blah, blah. I mean, if you go on Nick’s feed, you can just kind of look, just look at his comments. He has like a million people.
Unfortunately insult, I kind of feel bad for him sometimes because I’ve also seen him comment how it affects him personally. I, I don’t know him, so maybe it doesn’t give a shit, but, that’s why, again, I say, stay in my lane. Just keep it positive. Aye. Aye. Microfibers entire marketing strategy is literally just inspire or support encourage entrepreneurs.
It did. not, I mean, not getting beefs with people and stuff like that.
Have you. like, there’s the side that you’re, you’re taking of, using your personal brand for marketing, you know, growing a Twitter audience, all of that. You’re very off the cuff of like, you know, just firing off, tweets or things that you, you think about. But at the same time, like you’re a professional marketer and you tend to, from my new at you and other places, like you’re very methodical, you tend to attract things really well.
Do you track efforts that go into Twitter and Like how that translates into, you know, deals on MicroAcquire or new buyers or sellers, you know, like listing listing companies or any of that.
So I’m a big believer in, so David can sell from drift said this really well where, I think I might’ve mentioned this to you the last time we talked, but, he, he broke it down into like three phases where, we’ve gone through three phases of SaaS. Like the first phase was invention murder. The first person to kind of build a tool one, the market.
And then the second phase was the first company to really figure out the best, go to market strategy, like LTV to CAC, you know, AEs STR ratio who could, who could land grab the market fast enough. And then right now he says, he calls what we’re in today, the Procter and gamble phase, which is your brand. So it’s most defensible part about, your business is your brand. Your technology can be copied. it’s easier than ever to raise capital to build a team to do that. There’s also other things like your culture and your team’s talent and just, you know, again, your unique insights into the market. People can copy chapter one, but not chapters two and three and four that you have planned. so I think a lot about that, a lot in terms of just brand and market reputation. But So, no, we don’t, I don’t measure it. when a tweet goes viral, like the one you just mentioned, I don’t look at the comments because when a tweak gets like a thousand likes
Is gosh, like the questions and the people like disagree with you and just, you know, you start to enter, it’s like, you’re in a stadium of, you know, 200,000 people are reading this and then like 200 people have comments, not everyone’s going to be like, yeah.
Like half of them are going to be like negative stuff. So, yeah. So I, I push, I push away all negative energy. So if, if it’s not positive, I’m over it.
W what you’re describing is interesting of the city of idea of, if you think about it, like maybe your immediate group of friends, you post something, the people who reply right away, you interacted with them a bunch, like that’s who’s on the field or whatever. And then the next group is like the coaches, the diehard fans, like the re the support staff, everyone else, like those are your
Followers. And then you can tell every time that this tweet goes beyond that, because you start to get, like, I had one on company culture that, was like a thousand retweets and went really far. and you could just immediately tell when it had gone to like two levels beyond the people who follow me, cause it just, it went totally off the rails. And you’re right. That the only thing you can do is like mute your own thread and move on.
Yeah, I just, and you could tell, cause I usually will like everyone’s tweets just cause I respect everyone’s opinions, like bringing, Nick back up. He, I remember I had a tweet, just something about how entrepreneurs that have maybe struggled in their childhood, have an advantage. He came in with like a strong disagreement and kinda, but I respected it.
But then I, we, we kind of close the loop with like, Hey Mike, I think you’re taking this out of context. so I’ll respect everyone’s opinion, but once it goes, you know, I’ll like all of, them. And then once it goes viral, that’s when it’s like all, everything is just nuts. Like, you know, I can’t, I would never want, I can’t keep up with it.
And then too, I’ve probably already moved on to like three or four other tweets that, you know, I’m thinking of or something like that, but I think, I think that’s another important side of, just social media in general is just understanding like everyone has a right to their opinions. So even if people do strongly like disagree, that’s awesome.
You know, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone has, You know, unique view of life And how things work. and I respect all those opinions, but I think one. thing about social media that can get kind of crazy is when you’re taken out of context, I’ve had that happen a couple of times. Like the one time with Nick, maybe, he took it as I think like, people with really great families, you know, like divorced dads make less than married men. and I, was like Nick, no, this isn’t about diverse families. It’s just about like entrepreneurs struggling with when they grew up. Like I were Joe, and then I had another one. This one was, this is a crazy one. I had one, I tweeted out. Hire people you’d be friends with. And that was, literally someone literally took that as far as saying, nice job describing why tech is sexist and racist in five words.
And I, and I was like, what? And I was hanging out with my sons. I didn’t have like enough, I didn’t catch it in time. And so I come back, to my phone and I had to delete the tweet. And then I actually, you know, put more con like, Hey, I meant that as like, you know, hire people, you’d be friends with and you’d care for them personally and professionally, not just hire a bunch of white people or something like that.
Like what? So sometimes you gotta be careful, when that kind of stuff goes down. And it’s also just fascinating how people can, again, their, their perspectives, like their perspectives and their viewpoints. you know, you can say one thing and it means one thing to you and something completely different to someone
Yeah. I remember a time that
Josh Pigford, for bare metrics, had a tweet about concerns in your, in a resume when someone, you know, has had 10 roles in 10 years or kind of thing, or like jumped between roles every 12 months. And that, I I’m not even fully sure why, but, but that one, like he got jumped on in a very similar way of people taking out of context and saying like, this is what’s wrong with technology and
Let’s talk about that for a second. So when you’re, when you’re taken out of context, Just admit it, just say, Hey, that, that this is not what I meant. And then I recommend is deleted tweet, and just clarifying, just like, Hey, I wrote a tweet, this, this is what I actually did. I deleted the tweet. And then I said, Hey, I had a tweet taken out of context and it’s obviously a little embarrassing, you know, but it’s the right thing to do is like, Hey, like that’s not what I meant.
So also admitting, you know, that’s not what you meant, but clarifying when people like, that’s not that that was not my intention of those five words in any way, shape or form, even like, that, that, that experience was so far off. I still kind of scratch my head on it. But my point being is, you know, it, you know, take one back, like, Hey, listen, I, I said something, it was taken out of context.
I apologize. this is what I really meant for further clarification. And it’ll just make your life a lot easier instead of trying, to defend, because I know the thing is if Mrs. Also I don’t really comment too much on social media. Number one, it’s just exhausting because you can have so many, then you’re like a, full-time like customers support person on Twitter. again, you know, once You kind of engage with someone who vehemently disagrees with what you’re saying, or has taken you out of context, it’s really hard to change their opinion, if not impossible. So even trying, once you, if you just try you lose. You just start throwing food and stuff like that.
So that’s just kinda some of the crazy stuff I’ve seen happen on, on Twitter as, you know, gone a little bit more active. cause I, I wasn’t active on Twitter, so all this is like new to me too. I’m still learning like, oh shit posers. I didn’t, I didn’t know those existed or like, oh wow. You can get really taken out of context and it can go viral and people can say some mean things.
So yeah, my, again, going back to just saying I stay in my lane and just talk about stuff that I liked it. Talk about.
I like it. something else that you’ve done that I hadn’t seen other people to do before, but I get it as a strategy. so separate from like just sort of specific, but it’s using cameo and using spokespeople on cameo. for your business specifically, you got Chris, demon topless from Silicon valley and all of that to do announcement videos for partnerships and one they’re amazing. but like w where did that come from? And, how’d that turn into something that like, And, now if someone says like tres commas, like in relation to micro choir, everyone’s like, oh yeah, that makes sense.
So for the longest time, it was just me running Mike requir. I was a solo founder. and on the team page, we just like, as I was working on the design with, I initially use an agency to help with, the development. And, there was a team page and I was like, ah, just put Richard Hendrix, Gavin Belson, and Jen yang from Silicon valley.
And it just kinda was, I just thought it was cool. And some people like, you know, called it out and was like, are these really your team members? And I’m like, yeah, they were super harder recruit. So I’m, I’m a huge fan of the show because it is shockingly accurate and just hilarious. and then, yeah, so I actually, you know, before, like right when I launched my crew choir, I.
When on cameo saw Russ Hanneman Chris. I can’t pronounce his last name off the top of my head, but, you know, he was available and he was like my favorite character. And I was like, yeah. W do you want to talk about my group choir? And since then we built, you know, a pretty good relationship in terms of, you know, just working with them.
And he’s a really great guy. Like he’s a really, really, really nice person. but my point here is I’m always thinking about what’s, I’m always learning and I’m always trying to think of what is changing in marketing today? For example, the marketing playbooks that worked five years ago don’t work as effectively today because everyone adopts them and starts using them.
And then it starts to, feel like marketing and the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing it’s entertaining, or it, captures your attention in a way where you go, whoa, I haven’t seen that before. So I’m always trying to think of unique ways to, capture or actually I should say, earn audience attention rather than buy it, or, you know, writes an ebook and engaged it and get your email and then send you 30 trip emails, which worked fantastically a decade ago, which killed a decade ago.
But So that’s kind of where the thought process and then candidly. I would say, I might laugh the hardest out of those videos. So it’s like my like guilty, like pleasure. cause you know, they’re not free. So like, you know, I, I probably am lapping the hardest, like when those go out.
I’ve I’ve laughed pretty hard at a lot of them, especially as like, they end up in a series where they like build on each other. The, he uses jokes that he first coined and, you know, first video. And,
Yeah. a little background on that too is, I didn’t tell him to make up anything like he’s made of like gas Decky style, micro Gaz, micro, and like, I don’t tell, I just basically, cause you’re only able to write in like two sentences and he he’s just a hilarious person. So any startup looking to, you know, announce something, I highly recommend checking it.
I guess how has the business side of it work? Right? Cause if you go on, on his page in particular, it says $349 for personal use or 909 plus for business use, which makes sense that there would be a split there because you’ve obviously gotten a lot of earned, earned, attention from those. how does it work actually on the payment side?
In terms of like using Kamya.
Yeah. Using cameo, maybe using Russ specifically. Well, Chris, not Russ.
But using him specifically or, you know what you’ve done, you’ve done with, other people on cameo.
Yeah. So he’s kind of the only we did a partnership with Clearco and I had like the game, the rapper, duke came here just because I kind of went on like a cameo binge, like I’ve been a fan of you forever.
Cards on file. You know, you’re just like
Yeah. I was like, I’d love for you to just say micro choir. Like this is awesome. who else did we get?
I can’t remember off the top of my head, but, what’s been interesting to see what Chris is. when I first booked him, he was $200. Now he’s 5,000. So he, has definitely, you know, made some waves in the startup community. And So it’s, it’s cool to see him like, you know, making people laugh and helping startups get exposure and then raising his prices too, which is, I think something that, you know, most startups should do.
So he’s done a very good job of that. It, it went from like one K to two K to three K. Now it’s at like, 5k, so he’s expensive.
So that’s like when we see something like that, right. If the nine and nine plus, in the buying process, then later, does it tell you like, oh, here’s like once you fill out, the initial form, it’ll tell you what, what the price is or how’s that work?
So there’s, there’s a personal use. So you can use his personal, I don’t know his like personal cost, but let’s say it’s like 500 bucks and that would be for like a birthday wish or something like that, which can be a great way to motivate like your team, like, Hey team, great. You know, Q1 or Q4 that’s ending, here’s our goals for next year, you know, made, they want to me to give you all shout out, that’d be 500 bucks, but then a business use where you posted, externally, so on Twitter or social media, or, within some sort of piece of marketing content.
The price for that is usually 10 X, you know, internal use.
Did any of the other ones that you tried? Did you feel like they got attention or that kind of thing make you want to do it again? Or was it more just the ones with Chris that really resonated.
I think probably you’ll see less cameos, out of me, I think, you know? there, there, there gets to a point and we could, we could probably have another podcast about this, about like things with diminishing returns. And I think I’ve kind of, you know, used them so many times that, I mean, for the really big like, announcements that we have coming up, like maybe twice next year or something like, that but I think there’s sort of a diminishing return, especially with the cost, you know? I think building in public kind of falls into that category a little bit. audience exhaustion in terms of like paid ad campaigns. you know, so I’m always thinking of that stuff too.
I like, are we overdoing it? cause then it just kinda starts to get corny is when you’re doing it over and over and over and over. and it’s not really like, whoa, he’s here. Like I didn’t expect this. And when it starts to become expected, I think if there was just kind of a little bit of luster.
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. something else that you do a ton of is partnerships, whether it’s with PYP or angel list or whoever, it feels like micro choirs coming out with a partnership. Every, I don’t know what the actual cadences, I feel like it’s every two weeks to a month. what’s the, what’s the strategy there. And is that like a very deliberate, marketing strategy or is it just like, look, this is a natural fit. And so we’re just going to do a better job. It made sense to do the partnership and we’re just going to do a better job promoting it than most people do. And when they come out with a partnership,
Yeah. I mean, so the pipe Clearco Angeles partnerships all made total sense. They help startups get acquired, which is, you know, the purpose of our business. And, you know, our, our main metric of success is helping startups get acquired. So helping them get financed, increases the buyer pool, which then can lead to more acquisitions.
So there’s, those made a ton of sense. and then we also want to expand internationally. So we partnered with, essentially like the angel list of, Africa that serves 40 countries in Africa. And so I thought that was a really fun partnership in terms of, you know, helping, really underserved. areas of the world, or support underserved areas of the world with my group who are in terms of, you know, just our message and just our encouragement and we’re going to continue those.
So we’re looking, actively speaking with, individuals that are, you know, accelerators or like, start a boot camps and like Turkey or Europe or the UK or Australia. I have a number of conversations, but we’ll probably go a little lighter on those because I also feel like the partnership thing is it’s like, okay, another part is another partnership might require really. but that’s, I think partnerships are, what I would call a non-linear growth strategy. So it’s basically, you know, what you’re doing is you’re leveraging, you know, number one, Another company’s brand So you’re, you’re borrowing some of their brand equity saying like, Hey, we’re partnering. So their capabilities are now part of our capabilities and vice versa. so there’s benefits on both sides. And then you know, with products that, you know, pipe clear co and Angeles offers specifically, it adds value to our product. So it’s like a win, win, win. It’s a, it’s a good marketing play, good brand play. And then it’s good. Just, you know, product play without, a lot of, you know, engineering needed.
Is there, like, do you have engineers internally just devoted to, you know, these integrations or, or did they tend to be more on the marketing? you know, our business ops side rather than on the product side, because then they can be expensive on the product side.
Yeah, they definitely can. I would say they’re more. On the marketing side then on, like for example, the angel is partnership is just a landing page that so Avaloq, the CEO of Angeles is an investor in might require and then evolve in an investor in my rewire. And so I just asked, I pointed out this other company that was making an SPV product for private equity firms.
And I just said, can you make me a landing page? I’ll promote it. And so inside my group where there’s like a drop down that says raise bonds, and then it takes you to a landing page. So minimal product integration there, but it’s just kind of like us saying, Hey, if you, if you’re looking to raise funds, this is where we recommend you doing it.
We’ve done that with mercury bank as well, which is just, again, you know, you acquire a company, you probably want to transfer those assets and do a new entity. That new entity is going to need a bank account. So we’re just kind of getting all the re they’re almost like perks. If you will.
Yeah. That makes sense. And then it’s not this big integration that you’re having to maintain for years to come or.
Yeah, no, it’s not like a, like a Facebook, like a, you know, SSO log-in or something like that. you know, it’s a, it’s a lot simpler. It’s usually just like a lane kicking over to a landing page, you know, driving traffic to them and then we get some sort of kickback for whatever business we drive to them.
Is there anything in particular that’s worked well on, like the partnerships that have been a, a, huge boost, right? Where either you’ve gotten a bunch more attention for Mike require built the brand. Like, are there things that you see in common on those ones where you’re like, yes, that was a home run versus the ones where you’re like, I think that was worth the time to put together.
Yeah. I mean, I’d say, I’d say all of them, I’d say my favorite are definitely the Clearco and pipe partnerships. like. Hers is he, oh, he bought me this to kick off our partnership. It’s assigned Mike Tyson glove and we’ve done a number of acquisitions together. I think their company’s fantastic. I love working with our team.
Clearco same thing. So pipe, I was finance all of our SaaS deals exclusively, and then Clearco all of our e-commerce deals exclusively and they’re just great teams and it’s a clear need. You know, some people want to finance these with, these companies and we make it extremely seamless to connect to those companies.
And we even do like pre-financing. So if you’re a founder looking to sell on Mike required and you want to give a line of, you know, potential financing in advance to a buyer, we can, pre-approve a seller. So it just makes kind of the, you know, when you’re going to buy a home, it’s like it’s pre finance or something.
I don’t know if that’s a good analogy, but, those are, those are partnerships that really add, like they were on the product roadmap and they just, you know, we just went to the best ones in the market with the most credibility, with the largest capital pools. but also with the engineering resources.
So, you know, anytime a company is, you know, financed through pipe, we get a notification within slack. It says like, Hey, add preapproval number to this company. So we just, we, instead of working with like a ton of different financing partners, we just pick the best ones and then then integrated deeply with them.
That makes sense. One of the things that I wanted to ask about before we wrap up is, on the sort of the investor influencer side, you have a lot of people, like know, you mentioned Deval and, and others who, have invested in MicroAcquire. And is that, helping of like helping you you know, amplify some of these things on Twitter amplify, these partnerships, open doors in some way.
Do you think you get something similar with like a influencer program or has the investor side really been a good, good angle for that?
Yeah, that’s a good question. So yes, there’s definitely the group of investors that my career has is like all my, like idols, like, you know, founders of companies that, you know, I like, you know, Dharmesh from HubSpot, Neval like, From Angeles, like those are some of my favorite companies and I get to, interact with them on a, on a very limited basis. I don’t reach out to them for advice, very often. So I think that also adds to just, you know, brand equity of just, being a marketplace, you know, and us wanting to build this with the startup community. That was kind of more of the thought process behind it. But now, I mean, you could even look at my likes.
I, I ha I, was, has evolved over, liked something of, mine now has Dharmesh maybe once, like, so now I don’t rely on them for like social media support or anything like that. but it, it is, a good way in terms of, you know, when you raise your entreprenuers, you get kind of, again, unique insights because most of them have been through MNA. so, so typical VCs, but, I, I really liked that, style of, of fundraising is when, obviously I’m a bigger advocate of bootstrapping because that’s kind of, you know, where I’ve spent, or had the most success. But if you’re gonna raise capital, I, I recommend entrepreneurs for us because they have experienced building a business.
And then typically with, you know, acquisitions specifically in my case, which is you know, extremely helpful.
Yeah, you and I are both known for bootstrapping. And we’re also, I think, pretty well known for not being that dogmatic about it, of being like, here’s what we did. Here’s why it works well. Here’s why the other path can be fine too. you know, rather than being super dogmatic in one camp or the
Yeah. That’s one thing I’ve noticed since being vocal about bootstrapping that I think is a little toxic; if you’re funded, it’s like, I hate you. Then, if your bootstrapped, venture capital’s just a tool. If you know how to use the tool correctly, it can be a great accelerant to your business. Everything comes with a cost. So, when you bootstrap, you have to kind of eat glass for much longer. I’ve lived that life, but at the end, the rewards can be epic.
So, if your goal is to make money, you should probably bootstrap, because you can sell the business whenever You want. You have no approvals. You own the whole thing. Nathan, if you wanted to sell your business, you don’t have any investment or approvals, or anyone saying, “No, you need to hit that billion dollar mark.” If you want to really disrupt the market, or change a market or, go a little bit bigger, faster, venture capital is just a tool to accelerate that. It all comes with a cost.
The cost of bootstrapping is, sometimes you have to do customer support for longer. You have to do some of these roles where you can’t bring in talent earlier. The cost of venture capital is, you give it back equity and control within your business. There’s usually controls. You need approval to raise capital. You need approval to sell your business.
So, everything comes with a cost, and it has pros and cons. I think bootstrapping makes sense for 99% of entrepreneurs, because the bar today is building a billion dollar business, and that’s not easy to do. So, for many first-time founders, I’m a big fan of stair-stepping and entrepreneurship. One of my favorite tweets that I’ve ever written is, “Start with an agency, get to cashflow positive, and then bootstrap an asset—whether that’s a SaaS company or your e-commerce business—sell that asset, become financially secure, and then do whatever you want.” Swing for the fences, go on a beach, whatever. Along the way, you prepare yourself for the next stage of business.
Yeah, I completely agree with that. I have an article titled “The Ladders of Wealth Creation” that touches on the similar idea of using the skills from one ladder to move up to the next, and go from there.
Well this has been fun. I always enjoy watching the partnerships, what you’re doing on Twitter, and everywhere else.
I think that MicroAcquire is a great example of what you can build with an audience. Thanks for coming on and hanging out with me and, and we’ll have to talk soon.
Yeah, Nathan, thanks for having me, man. I enjoyed the chat.
Alright. Catch you later.
See you, man.
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