Jeremy Weisz
how do we find that to put on the beginning of this intro?

A.C. Evans
Oh, man podcast. That would be amazing. It would probably be embarrassing the way it looks nowadays. Who knows what they got now? But uh, you know, long story short, I got I got let go. That job, I was great at the stuff that I was interested in again, just to show my my pattern and progression through, you know, through what eventually landed me in entrepreneurial ism. But I was great at the design great at the creative work. But one of my jobs on game day was to be there. in case something went wrong, right in case I had to queue something up, but most of my job was in pre production. But the one thing that the director had me do and it was probably because I was the youngest person I had nothing else to do during the game except watch the game was I had to record the game. So I had to take this this giant beta, VHS looking, you know, recording device and I would have to put it in hit record and then a halftime pop it out, put the next one and hit record, file it and give it back to them. And that was the only thing I had to do on game day and I went a handful of games. I can’t remember how many six or seven games that season. Doing it. No problem, no problem. But then one one game I got caught up doing a design I wasn’t even watching the game. I’m not a big sports fan, but I was caught up doing this cool design to this, this helmet spinning around. And I forgot to record the second half of the game. And I go up to the director, his name was Dan, I said, Hey, Dan, I forgot to record the second half man. And he looked at me is that what do you mean you forgot? And I said, Well, you know, I was busy working on the design. It’s really cool. I can show you He’s like, hold on, hold on. You can’t forget to record the game. Keep in mind this is this is 2000 right? This is before DVR and TiVo and and all this stuff. So so there’s literally a hole in the NFL archives somewhere because of you know, yeah. What would they use for that? What are they use it for? It was for the archives. It was literally it was literally for the record

Jeremy Weisz
Lacey, you’ve ruined history of

A.C. Evans
that there’s a hole in the Browns archives that has my name on it. And and the director, you know, he said, he said, look like you’re a good kid. You do great work, but you can’t forget Get to record the game the end, you know? And he said if it happens again you’re fired or otherwise I’m gonna get fired. No problem, sir won’t happen again. Three weeks later happened again fired on the spot. And I’ve had a string of jobs that went something like that, where if I’m interested in it, you know, I’m digging in I’m pushing for it, but the second it loses my interest. I, you know, I just don’t give it as much focus as it should. And

Jeremy Weisz
you said, you know, you dropped out of college.

A.C. Evans
Again, same. Yeah, I was I was interested in enjoyed the marketing class, the psychology class, but my parents made enough money at the time that I couldn’t get government aid and I didn’t make enough money to to pay for my own college. I had to work during the day. And then I was doing night school, which which sucked, you know, as an 18 year old. You’re there with, you know, people way, way older than you. The courses aren’t as interesting. The teachers are As you know you’re not in a big auditorium

Jeremy Weisz
not like people your own age that you can socialize with.

A.C. Evans
Yeah, so it was very it was very hard and i and i candidly I went to college just because I thought that was what you were supposed to do you know, like I just so I went to Akron you I’m a big fan of Akron and it was close and the candlelight there were one of the only places that would take me and And long story short, a couple semesters and I had to drop out, but I was making six figures online doing my own thing at the time. So I felt I felt good about about the drop out, paid off a little bit of money I owe them and really just never looked back. I never again worked for another company. I never again, prescribed any higher education. I even up to that point. I barely ever read a book cover to cover that wasn’t required reading. Now I’ve read you know, hundreds of books and I dig in and self educate myself on a lot of different things. But again it’s the it’s the curriculum of my choosing. Yeah which which I think was always the the piece that I was missing in high school and college.

Jeremy Weisz
Real quick AC What are some of your favorite books? What are some business or leadership books? We should be checking out my I think I have like three credits in my audible account that need to be used. So

A.C. Evans
the you might I don’t know if you’ve read Man’s Search for Meaning, but that’s

Unknown Speaker
one of my favorite books,

A.C. Evans
Franco. I assume with your grandfather’s experience that would be an interesting one. I just come up came up with a shortlist for books I’d recommend during this pandemic that was one just because I think everybody should learn to appreciate that your mindset is something that you control, no matter what your surroundings are, and if he could make it through that with somewhat of a positive attitude, how could we not make it out of this? The obstacle is the way is a book I enjoy to write. So another one that I think is appropriate for this pandemic, I personally have found immense growth in my in my My impact my relationships, my family throughout this pandemic. The one thing I think is a good book. This is all about

Jeremy Weisz
I’ve had the author on the co author Jay papasan on

A.C. Evans
Yeah, that’s great. You know, I also enjoy books like Tim Ferriss you know tools for Titans and tribe or mentors like to me Those are great because you can pick them up flip through two pages, get some good content that I thought was probably the best author book hack I’ve ever seen. He literally just took his podcast and transcribed it and made a best selling book. I was like, wow, that’s, that’s super smart. Yeah, those are probably the three that are most top of mind for me right now. If people are looking for a buy, I have a book club in my company now that are not and what’s right now what’s the one thing is right.

Jeremy Weisz
Oh, the one thing is okay.

A.C. Evans
Yep. So we’re gonna do a review.

Jeremy Weisz
give a shout out. I’ll tag shout out to Jeff and Jay. You know, at the one thing Jeff runs the one thing podcasts. So, Jeff, if you want to have a seat on the podcast, you know, I’ll tag you in this.

A.C. Evans
Yeah, that’d be great. I’d love to pick his brain on a couple different points in the book. And then another book that I love for entry level readers or people that just want to read more that don’t read, because it may be it seems like it’s a daunting task to crush through a book is how to fight a Hydra I can’t remember the author’s name but it’s it’s a very small parable or never heard about a metaphor on problem solving. It’s a story you know, it’s a fictional story about a guy that decides to go on this quest to find and fight a Hydra you know, the Hydra Hydra is the the the dragon with the multiple heads. Oh, got it got that when you chop the head off two more heads. But it’s again, it’s a metaphor for problem solving. And it’s Yeah, it’s a super fun read. You can read it and, you know, 35 minutes or so,

Jeremy Weisz
we were talking about also helping people when at work. Gary rich Great, What did you like about that one?

A.C. Evans
I like just the structure it gave I read that book when the company drifts, I think was maybe 12 employees, something like that. And we were getting to the point where we knew we had to give people more than a thumbs up or a thumbs down as far as quantitative feedback. Yeah. In that book, I think gives a very, very strong structure. We’ve since adopted different toolings and technologies and methodologies we, we performance is 50% performance and 50% culture alignment, which I think is important for a scaling company to really buttoned up their culture. And if you have any books on that, that would be something I’d be interested in. I haven’t read. I’ve had a lot of good entrepreneurs and founders helped me learn a lot about culture and establishing core values and measuring and defending it, but I haven’t read any. I haven’t found any great books on it. Yeah.

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah, there’s actually it’s funny because so I had a guy On and David Long um, he does they basically that’s what they specialize in which is kind of employee retention and culture and he talked about you know, they have programs for like Walmarts of the world and like large companies but he talked about his company’s my employees and he talks about bill to lead and he talks about one of the key elements he recommends is doing a book club with with the company which you’re doing so shout out to David but yeah, he’s he’s done some amazing things and they help large companies, small companies all across the gamut with their kind of principles of that the you know, what to talk about culture, because culture is important to you. And I do we will talk about some specific use cases for for drips.com, also. So if you are listening, you’re like, you know, I have a couple questions in here that I noted. Creative in copy is key and That’s one of the elements early on that I know, A.C. focused in on, but just talk about culture for a second and going from a little bit from the startup to scale up, and what do you do with culture to maintain the, you know, maintain that for the company?

A.C. Evans
I think the biggest thing early on, I mean, and I mean really early, I had a co coach, a local gentleman by the name of Blake Squires, multiple time, you know, multiple exit entrepreneur, real popular guy in Northeast Ohio, he’s done a lot for the community. And I took him on as a CEO coach, when you know, we were going from, call it four to 14 employees, something like that. And one of the things he focused me in on was mission statement, vision statement and core values. And the core values at the time. I remember it was it was great because me and my co founder, Anthony Greco are our CTO. He heads up technology for Drips We were defining the very DNA of what he and I, you know, represented, like what we thought are our key differentiators our true nature and I literally mean ours is in Tony in mind, and those are lean happy team passion and improve. And we had a you know, we had a whiteboard, that part of the practice was writing down everything we thought was critical, right? Being analytic, you know, drive, you know, you know, all the all these different things you can imagine, and we whittled 48 things that we thought were, you know, kind of important to us down to these key five, and these five drive everything and, you know, the interesting thing is like, you can start with that, and again, that the core values are, are very, very much a DNA of the founders but eventually They have to be the DNA of the company. And the piece that I think that we learned, not too long after or maybe a year or so, after was how I define happiness may be different than the way you may define happiness, right? So it became this, you know, this word that, like somebody might define lean as something different than what I define as or improve is something different than right find his or passion, you know, different different people think different things. So, what we did, eventually, and this was a couple years ago, I believe, Katie, who runs HR and culture now she’s done a great job at really taking it on and giving it a real a real life. She’s also on that leadership page. She built out definitions of these different these different core values. And so we had three or four or five different kind of loose definitions. You know, lean to save cycles and prove things via Minimum Viable products. You know, come with data, don’t make up decisions, make informed decisions, things like this. And then then we came up with examples. This is a level that it’s funny, we hire a lot of a lot of people now. And when they asked about culture, I say, Well, do you have two hours for me to me to lecture you? And then when I show them this spreadsheet, I mean, with this huge multi page, you know, document that is true, tangible, actual examples of what does it look like when somebody is is exemplifying these core values? And what does it look like when they transgress? Another one of my favorite books is the 48 Laws of Power. I don’t read that, but it’s just interesting, you know, rule by Robert Greene or Robert. That’s exactly right. It’s a super, super cynical book. You have to In my opinion, you have to read it with a grain of salt because there’s a lot about like, kings and queens and you know, how to survive the court and all these things, but I’m still a lot of it’s applicable today. And one of the things I thought they did great was They would have their rules, right, the 48 Laws of Power and examples and cool stories about those rules, but then they would have transgressions. And that’s something that we added in that I’ve actually never seen another company do. So we actually have, you know, 70 different examples of what does it look like? Well, lo fi these different core values, and then another 50 or 60 examples of what does it look like to transgress against those those values? So so what we do now is anytime, every time we do a big hiring wave, so like I just did this two weeks ago, where I did a zoom with, I think, seven or eight new hires, and I talked through these and I showed the example and I said, Hey guys, like print this PDF out and circle all the ones that you are a transgressor of and be proud of that you know, because one of our core values is improve. So you need to know what what it is that you can improve on. I specifically designed with Tony some of these examples and definitions to keep ourselves in check. No we put some transgression is like man I really know that I gotta be better at this I’m gonna write that as a transgression so that I can keep myself honest with it. So in my office at our HQ, which we’re obviously not out right now, I have these things printed up on my wall and you can see I got six or seven of them circled that I know I’m bad at and that I want to be better at. So yeah, what do

Jeremy Weisz
you what do you think you need improvement now? What are you working on? Now? There’s so much

A.C. Evans
the one of the biggest for me and this this, you know, candidly is pandemics been a great lesson for me is, is impact you know, focus on the one thing right if I’m gonna give more shout out to the book, but focusing on impact focusing on leveling up my problem solving at the office, the buzz of the office, and it’s great, you know, we have a full time chef, we have a production kitchen we have this huge massive lunches and breakfasts together as a team. And the buzz of the office is intoxicating. My office doesn’t even have a door on it. It says like the janitor’s closet. And I’m always running around, I’m always bouncing around, I’m always helping out and adding input and asking people what they’re working on. And it’s great, but I’ve actually equated it to like, as far as impact goes, I was kind of like, kind of like a lion eating field mice, you know, I was just jumping around solving very, very, very small problems, which a shouldn’t be my focus and B, I’m also taking the the ability away for somebody to solve that problem themselves, or to learn how to solve that problem. So that that’s been something that I’m trying to challenge myself with is, instead of giving answers asking more questions, you know, letting people come to the answers themselves instead of just just answering it. It’s been hard, you know, I mean, it’s only been a few years and Tony and I have built this thing up to almost 90 employees now and in the beginning, it was like, Look, if you got the answer, like we don’t need to debate it, just just run with it. You know, I mean, we were we were building and trying not to try not to run out. Money AND and OR time. So there was no time for teaching. No, there was no time for Inception if you will. But But now we’re absolutely at the point where Tony myself and all the other executive leadership like we have to slow down let other people make make the mistakes candidly and and, and learn.

Jeremy Weisz
So because you put the people in place now it frees your time up to do more things which you want to be working to focus on more impactful things.

A.C. Evans
Yeah, yeah, it’s just again, because I was at the office and there’s all these great people and teammates and people I really enjoy working with and, and helping I just, I just know that I spent a significant amount, significant amount of my time just doing that just helping very, very, you know, random things, which is great. It’s not that that’s bad time spent but what it meant was I wasn’t spending my time working on bigger problems. I call it I call I like hiding in the weeds, right? Because if I’m, if I’m hiding in the weeds, and I’m solving these very, very minute issues, I’m not leveling up my thinking or my focus as a leader to risk solving the big problems. Because when you risk solving a big problem and you miss a big project, you’ve missed a big deal. You miss a big, whatever it is. That sucks, you know, but if I’m day to day solving these little problems doing whack a mole, it feels great. You get the dopamine response. I feel like I did 72 things during that day, but at the end of the day, did it really move the business forward? Or did I just help a bunch of small things out?

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah, yeah, one of my favorite books is wooden by john wooden and that that quote, resonates in my brain of does activity lead to or, you know, equate to achievement, you know?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, yeah, busy is not impactful. Um,

Jeremy Weisz
talk about At what point you decide to hire an HR person.

A.C. Evans
Well, Katie, we’ve had since she was we had her I can’t remember what number employee she was. But she was very early on six, seven, maybe employee. And she was very much office manager, she worked as my executive assistant. And she just helped with kind of everything. I mean, for Katie, she said, she said three jobs over the past five years. And very recently, six months ago or so, she dumped me, it’s decided to start focusing on completely on HR and managing the office and the staff. Which is great. So I had to find myself a new support person, which is which is always fun. You know, when you when you build a bond like that, like Katie really, I mean, this truly she took kind of Tony and my vision for the culture and and turned it into this organic living, breathing thing and we have a very what I would Call almost all offensive, offensive, yeah, HR, not defensive, you know, most HR is like there to make sure the company doesn’t get sued and, you know, T’s are crossed and i’s are dotted, but we have a very proactive, very deliberate, you know, HR effort that is focused around making sure that people are aligned with and the company is aligned with the core values. And if you look at all the people that we let go, or all the people that let go of themselves, or, you know, self selected out, all of them, we’re not checking some of the core value boxes, and I mean, they really weren’t like they, you know, they actually, you know, didn’t align just just from their nature and one of the things I tell people about core values and culture is, that’s not a bad thing like that, like our core values are not right or wrong. They’re just how Tony and I and the company now are, it’s our nature, right? It’s like It’s like a, an animal isn’t right or wrong for being How the animal is it’s just it’s just how they are. And there’s many cultures out there. There’s many companies that have the antithesis of our core values. I mean, like, some people don’t. Some people are all about analytics and besides

Jeremy Weisz
happy, hopefully happy isn’t one of them. We want you to be sad. Yeah, no, but

A.C. Evans
I would hope so. But, you know, a lot of people don’t, don’t talk about that. Like, I always end with happiness when I’m talking through the core values. And, and I tell people I say guys, like, this is what it’s all about, like we spend more time with our co workers, with our teammates, with our peers with our prospects. You know, we literally spend more time during the week with these people than we do our own families and we do our wives or husbands or kids or pets, ourselves, you know, and if you’re not happy in that, you know, environment in that role, then you’re just you’re setting yourself up for failure to me, it’s like having a bad a bad mattress. Like you have to spend a lot of time in your mattress. You know, every night you know, as a kid and as an adult, so like, the sooner you can buy a nice mattress, do it. Well, little shout out to all the mattress companies.

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah, like TempurPedic but, um, the talk about some of the the points in the company that you felt helped with the growth. And like I mentioned, one like I think is a huge sentiment to your ability to want outside help, which is having a CEO Coach, what are some other things that you did throughout this journey that helped with your journey and moving forward?

A.C. Evans
I’ll be honest, a lot of it’s it started with my partners. So, Tony Greco, my co founder and our CTO and then Tom Martindale, who’s also on the leadership page. So Tom was actually our first client so when we built this tool, it was Tom’s need. He was the only person we were doing this project for it wasn’t called Drips. It wasn’t called anything. But Tom had been around and done For some time, and he brought on the first wave of clients, we quickly partnered him into the company. And he runs our strategy. And what I mean by that is there’s there’s so many things that Tony and I just as young younger entrepreneurs haven’t ran into haven’t seen. I’m a bad negotiator. Right? I’m a pleaser by nature. It’s just it’s just in my DNA. So So Tom handles negotiations. I’m bad at seeing risk, you know, technically or otherwise. I am a very ultra optimist. I see only abundance. That’s my strength. Tony on the other side sees all the potholes and all the roads that we very well likely won’t ever take. But he has this this keen ability to hit a button and his sonar just goes out in every direction and it sees every single piece of risk. Tom, you know, is more cynical than I am.

Jeremy Weisz
thought Did you meet Tony?

A.C. Evans
Oh, I like to tell the company and I do this in all hands once in a while that I met Tony and he was a he was 13 years old and an AOL chat room. Which is the truth. You know, like we were, we were in the old, you know, programmer hacker chatter, AOL spammer you know, whatever you want to call it, like the kids that were tinkering, you know, like nobody really was into programming then it wasn’t even barely a thing. Why read

Jeremy Weisz
something, they see that you coded something on Myspace that led to getting people 10s of thousands of followers back in the day or something like oh, yeah, you have some technical abilities yourself. It sounds Yeah,

A.C. Evans
I coded the first version of Drips as well. Tony, I’ve always been the the MVP guy back back to our core value of lean. We believe very, very deeply in proof of concept. Minimum Viable Product is why we’ve been able to bootstrap to where we’re at now is because we test very Quickly fail very fast and we don’t build something truly build it or truly architect it until value is absolutely proven. So we actually ran Drips again, it had no name. It was just a it was just a script that I built for Tom and the back in the day. And we ran it for months before Tony built the next version. And then we ran that one four months before we hired some developers and rebuilt that version. But yeah, the MySpace thing was fun. That was Have you ever seen the little ad you can actually pull it up if you get your computer there? custom South Park’s.com. So these are the little, little dollmaker websites where you can draw sparks back out. Yeah. Or you could change you know, you can make a Dr. Jeremy Weisz southpark character right and give it

Unknown Speaker
I didn’t see that.

A.C. Evans
But these were these were hugely viral back in the day on MySpace, everybody had their own little custom southpark and they you know, give it a blue shirt and put Drips on the front of it and you know, give it that hair in the earphones or whatever, and I built away at the time to to go viral because back then there was no, there’s no way to share things. Nothing could go viral because of the lack of the ability to share things. Facebook was very small, then the only way that you got the kind of traffic that we got is if you got showcased on like, yahoo.com or something. But we built a way so that it would say, hey, Jeremy, here’s your custom southpark if you’d like to share it with your friends put in your MySpace, email and password here. And they would and and you know, back then there was no security. There was no cap.

Jeremy Weisz
There was no there was in your bank account here. No.

A.C. Evans
Yeah. I mean, we were you know, we had terms and conditions. We did it all super legitimately. But what it would do would it would take your username, password, and it would, it would log in to your MySpace through PHP curl, and it would go to all of your friends and post it on their wall, and it would post and it would say, hey, Jane, it’s Jeremy, check out my custom southpark you should make one too. And this thing just exploded. You know, I mean, it just went super, super, super viral. We were getting thousands and thousands of people building and saving these little cartoons of themselves daily. And we made a lot of money off that project. Because we would we would ask the people to run through and do surveys and self select into different offers and whatnot.

Jeremy Weisz
What did Tom see in that first version that was like we I need to be a part of this company to do something with you guys.

A.C. Evans
I saw a 50% increase in performance overnight. So we so how it all started was Tom and I and Tony had a different business. And again, this is just another one of our projects or money hacks, as I’ve come to call them these days, as I look back, but long story short, he was using a network that we had set up so that he could run more Facebook ads. He was in the student loan consolidation business, and one of he had a CRM that every day it would take his his database of users and Send a text message to that group around noon, I believe. And it would say hello, call us back at 881-555-1212 to get your student loan consolidated. And one day that system broke, and he called me up he said, Hey, see, I got it, I got to get my texture broke, I need I need you to fix it. I’m like, I can’t fix somebody else’s software. It’s, it’s their software. And he said, Well, they don’t know what’s wrong, and I gotta, I gotta get this thing going or otherwise I’m going to stop buying leads, and I’m not gonna be able to do this other work with you guys. And I was incentivized to get him back up and going very quickly because we had a different revenue of income coming in. So I asked him what it did. He explained it to me. I said, Okay, well, Alright, go to Twilio.com Give me your credentials. He didn’t know what Twilio was. He’s just putting in a credit card blindly. Okay, here’s the credentials and about 12 hours later, it was about 3am. I’d scripted exactly what his system it did. It’s something that pulled the last seven days leads and it went through the page would open up and it would send a message then Would refresh itself and send another message actually send 100 messages to 100 different people. You know, boom, refresh, boom, refresh, refresh, and I sent it to him. And it was it was about. There’s about 4am my time east coast. He was West Coast and I sent him the link in the email. I said, Hey, when you’re ready, open this up, and you’ll be live again. And I send it I go to sleep because I’ve been coding for you know, 12 1314 hours and, and he calls me right away. He’s like, Hey, man, I opened up that link and it’s not working. I got it just says refreshing refreshing. I said, you open to the link. He said, Yeah, I was like, close it. Close it now. Why? What’s wrong? I’m gonna just close it closes it. And, and I’m like, dude, you just texted like 3000 people, you know, at like 3am or 2am, depending on where they were in the country. And sure enough, he opened up his dashboard and his phone lines were just lit up. You know, it’s like all these people are calling in to talk about their student loan consolidation. But anyway, the

Jeremy Weisz
day is probably a good experiment like students are up at three in the morning anyways. Yes, yes,

A.C. Evans
exactly. So anyway, you know, he ran out the next day and what he found was instead of his normal 10% lead call conversion, he was seeing a 15% lead to call conversion which is significant I mean, same same marketing spend same leads inbound, it was a 50% increase influence. Yeah. And he asked me what was different and this goes back to what we talked about a little bit ago or earlier on was the the message the creative was different you know, like I had woven in different marketing psychology into it. So I was using you know, hey, Jeremy instead of just Hello. And I would put in recency you know, thanks for. I’m glad you found us on Facebook, or Google or wherever they came from. So now I got social proof and authority in the message and then would say, look, I can handle three more calls tomorrow. Try to call me back at this time or this time. So now I had scarcity built into it. And it felt humanize You know, it really real person reaching out and that got a 50% lift in employment. And that that was the first step. And you know, we click we quickly realized that a lot of people were texting back. But we weren’t doing anything with those messages. Tony actually figured it out. We he’d found some error log that was filling up. This thing was like about to crash our, our server. He said, Hey, your error log is you know, 40 gigs, big, what is I know what that is? And he said, Well, every time somebody text back, Twilio, our API handler was sending a request to our system to say, what do you want to do with this text, but because we didn’t have that handler set up, it would just log it to a 404 file, and it was getting bigger and bigger. And we started looking at what people were saying, and wouldn’t you know it, there was a lot of value there, right? It’s like, well, how much does it cost? Can you call me now I’m with my family, I can’t talk I’m driving. I’m still at school. You know, do I still call a million different iterations? Man, a million literally. So we, you know, we built out a chat room. We staffed the handful of people to handle that because back then there was no Natural Language Processing AI was more of a theory than anything. Or only companies that were really working on were like IBM and stuff. And then over the years, you know, we just had iteration after iteration after iteration. Tony again, very quickly on came in and rebuilt everything we stepped out of the development team. And what we did was we we had our humans, you know, responding to these things contextually, that got us eventually up to a 42% transfer rate. Again, this is the same data that he was starting at a 10% transfer rate. And that’s when Tom came to us and said, Guys, we really got something here and credit to him because Tony and I didn’t really think of business that way. We would get a project running, get some money going, and then we’d set up the next project and get some other money going. But Tom really had a vision for you know, people that he knew that could use the software and just saw

Jeremy Weisz
the use case right away once once that happen.

A.C. Evans
Yeah, he was he was, uh, you know, he was a real businessman and we were, you know, kind of, you know, solopreneurs that were, you know, just just making money on the internet. So we, you know, we built the company, we gave it a name. We showed it at a trade show for the first time. And 2016 January, I believe. And the rest is history. We picked up credit repair.com at that trade show, we picked up three day blinds.com and a couple others, and now we’re servicing companies like Liberty Mutual, you know, monster monster monster companies that are that are coming on and using our platform.

Jeremy Weisz
Talk about the humanized version, then and then now, how does that work?

A.C. Evans
The humanize the point of that is like everybody’s seen chat bots, right? everybody’s seen web web chats that say, Hello, how can I help you right? To me, that is a poor user experience. And you say well, I want to check on my billing account and it goes I think you mean billing reply, a billing. If you need billing. Here’s like, Ah, you know, so the point of Drips and what we call humanized conversations is, we want it to look like a human. We want it to be able to pass the litmus test of you can’t tell it’s not a human, even to the point where if you broke it, meaning like our model wasn’t able to be sure that we knew what you meant. Like say you said, like, I’m on I’m on with AC on the Rise25 show? No, no, no AI in the world is going to have a clue what that is, right? So that in our sense, would get piped to a human a quality assurance person that would read that they’d read the whole conversation, the whole thread, maybe they even Google Rise25 figure out what it is. And then they reply, contextually, they say, Oh, sorry, we caught you while you’re busy recording. We’re happy to reach out you know, afterwards. When do you think you’ll be done? Right? That’s cool. Yeah,

Jeremy Weisz
yeah. So instead of that, like errorlog building up, it sends it out. Have you probably have so many different you know, You know versions of this, but if something spits out it, not computing, it spits it to a human to actually respond.

A.C. Evans
Yeah, and all the responses are humanized, meaning that we worked with the brands they either wrote or approved, you know, what do we say if somebody’s driving, right, like, like, you know, say we’re talking about telco carriers, just for a good example, like Verizon may want to have a more professional response. And T Mobile may have a more fun response, don’t text and drive, you know, or whatever. So every every brand has a voice, and we’re really experts at capturing that brand voice and enabling the brand to have conversations at scale. And then keep in mind, this could be like we’re doing things for insurance carriers now or we’re texting people saying things like, hey, Jeremy, keep an eye out. You might want to pull in your car. It looks like a hailstorm is about to hit your area. So now we’re helping hmm claims. That’s cool. Yeah, better user experience and Again, all the while it feels to me as the consumer like I have a real intimate relationship with the brand.

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah, I want to hear about messaging that works. I think every direct response marketer copywriter who listen to you talk at warms our heart, because the way you talk about recency, social proof, authority and scarcity, where did you learn or study or talk to as far as the copywriting goes, because it’s a different skill set?

A.C. Evans
Yeah, absolutely. I always say and I think I may have stole this line from Gary Vee, but the creative is the variable. A lot of times now if you get the mechanics and you got the system, and you get the natural language processing, like the last piece of it is the creative and if you have bad creative, it’s gonna it’s going to perform poorly. If you have great creative it’s going to perform as great as it can. The first time I first time I learned about it was in college actually, one of the only classes I actually attended and got decent grades in was a psychology class. And I mean, it was Just like it just opened my eyes There’s so many things a lot of this like Jedi mind tricks stuff right the scarcity stuff the liking the concessions, like all these different like rules that that there’s just been huge studies done on there’s like it is it is it is in our DNA right like if I see if you and I are sitting in a room and we see one cookie left on the table, we’re gonna feel hungry because there’s only one cookie left. You know if there’s a pile of cookies, maybe we don’t go after him, you know?

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah, it’s a social scientist like Robert Cialdini is and the Dan Ariely Ellie’s predictably irrational and influenced both of those.

A.C. Evans
That’s the book I always I always recommend anybody that’s like looking to break into this is influenced specifically, that book is amazing. And all of its applicable if you’re doing any sort of marketing or sales or even just, I mean really anything if you’re if you’re trying to, you know, date somebody Yeah, the way you present yourself on a dating website you could use a lot of this a lot of this Yeah, a lot of this stuff. So yeah, I think I think the creative is absolutely the variable.

Jeremy Weisz
There’s some messages that stick out there like we kind of cracked this a little bit of this message. really well.

A.C. Evans
Yeah. You know like anytime really anytime you can be more and more humanized it’s it’s important anytime you can respond contextually. It’s super important. One thing that we find new best practices all the time through our split testing. That’s part of what we do is active champion challenger split testing. One that I recall that was fairly recently was we used to on the after hours, somebody came into call at Liberty Mutual’s funnel and we would send one transactional after hours message right? Hey, Jeremy. Sorry, cross after hours. Looking forward to give you a quote. This is Bob Liberty Mutual. We’re open back up Monday, eight to nine o’clock, something like that. Right? But what we did instead, what one of our account managers figured out was he would put in random times between eight nine. So we would say, hey, Jeremy, it’s Liberty Mutual. Looking forward to reviewing your quote with you. I can call you back Monday 1011 one or 330 what works best for you? And that got like 80% more responses inbound. And the theory is people like multiple choice. They don’t like lakes. Right? And the fact that it looked like there’s four spots left now you got the scarcity, right, you got some some guilt associated there because it feels like there’s somebody on the other end of the other other end of the conversation that is offering these times so there’s been a there’s been a give. So and that that’s that’s been a huge, best practice for after hours. But there’s many many many many things like that, you know, texting somebody before you’re about to do the call priming, right, like setting.

Jeremy Weisz
Well, as I was saying with that the water cooler company, I actually was asking I wanted that right as a Consumer, that was actually a good customer experience for me

A.C. Evans
something that’s been interesting to me and I and back when back when we used to travel in early 2020. I used to talk a lot about this on stage at different shows. But I think it’s interesting is we’re similar age, right? Like, you remember the time when the phone would ring. And it was like a really exciting moment. Right. Like, I don’t know if you have siblings or not, but

Unknown Speaker
on the landline?

A.C. Evans
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, like me and my sister would almost hurt each other to get to the kitchen to answer the phone when the phone rang. Or even even more macro when somebody was at the front door, right? somebody knocks on the door. Now somebody knocks on the door, and you’re like hitting the lights here, like

Jeremy Weisz
you have a ring doorbell and you’re looking at who it is.

A.C. Evans
Yeah. And I thought a lot about it. I’ve unpacked it a ton. But I think the reason that we were so excited to get a phone call or to get company that came over back in the day was we were just bored to death. Like it’s just that Simple like nowadays we got, you know, we got podcasts and we got phones and I got 12 missed notifications or text messages, you know, while we’ve been on this on this thing and I have all these other things to fill my time with. Back Back when I was 13 1213 years old. I had a TV that had the thing of bonk bonk bonk, you know, and the bunny ears. You couldn’t pause sports, you could there was nothing getting delivered the same day or the next day except for like pizza. You know, that was the only thing you get on demand. If you needed a ride to somewhere you had to wait for a friend to pick you up. Remember that? Now Now I can get a ride anywhere with a click of a button. So you have this complete shift to like I can do anything I want whenever I want on demand. So if you are a marketer or an enterprise want to call me like you good luck, right? Because I got other stuff I want to be doing. I’m browsing Netflix, I’m catching up on the game. I’m out I’m working, I’m reading a book on my phone, I have other things to fill my time with. And I think that enterprises are finally realizing that the day of stealing people’s time is gone, you know, can’t get people on email. They’re not combing through their direct mail. They’re not looking at billboards, you know, look around when you’re driving, they’re not even looking at the road, right? They’re doing this. It’s super scary. But that’s why you have to be you have to enable your companies and your enterprises to have what we call asynchronous conversations, which is like, Yes, I’ll let you know. I’m going to call if you don’t answer, I’m going to text you again and say, Hey, Jeremy, thought we were on for 12 let me know what a better time is asynchronous. You know, it’s on your time as a consumer,

Jeremy Weisz
what I want to talk about who’s a good fit, who should be using Drips and then maybe how the onboarding works a little bit.

A.C. Evans
Yeah. big brands, you know, enterprises that are that have volume issues. Were not set up and not focusing on the SMB, or small DIY companies, it’s just that’s just not how we’re set up or manage technology. So who

Jeremy Weisz
should be using UAC? Right now, if they’re listening and they’re not using ADB, like, you should be using us in a in a modest way. You know, like, we’ve got success for other companies who should be using you right now, that’s not

A.C. Evans
trying to think of who to say without upsetting editors that are already using us. Really anybody in the insurance industry, Home Services, industries, financial services, those are really our key markets. We’re starting to lean into education and travel. Like we’re having great conversations with a lot of companies that are that they have to look at how to do things differently now. Think of like education and how effective travel was or, or some of our best clients like like three Day Blinds like we’ve had to work with them through this whole thing. They just, you know, they were just bought by Hunter Douglas, one of the largest wind retreat. The largest went to treatment in the on earth and, you know, two months later COVID hits and they and they can operate literally. So yeah, it’s anybody in those sectors, anybody that has a recurring billing model, meaning that they have something that they’re trying to service for the company over and over. That’s why we work with the credit repair.com to the world and the credit coms and the debt coms and liberty, Mutual’s and companies like, you know, home security companies, medical alert companies, legal companies,

Jeremy Weisz
what’s the onboarding look like? Because it seems very culture, you know, depending on what, you know, it seems like you really dig into kind of how they want the messaging and how the responses are.

A.C. Evans
Yeah, the onboarding is, is very, very nuanced. We have a very senior group of account executives, very, very senior salespeople, sales engineers, that really go deep and Try to be very thoughtful and prescriptive in what we’re doing for these companies, because we’re not just helping them get ahold of people to enable the call center, we’re helping drive you know, adoption. We’re helping reduce churn, we’re helping you know, people that got a quote for something that didn’t buy right then helping get them back in the funnel later on increasing lifetime value driving two signatures on he signs. I mean, there’s there’s so many places in the funnel, where Drips can plug in and hold these conversations at these very, very thoughtful moments in time that are critical for the enterprise. And us being an expert in the enterprise. Businesses themselves is is is of the utmost importance. This is a relatively new channel. You know, many companies don’t know how to leverage it appropriately. Most companies don’t almost all companies don’t truly

Jeremy Weisz
early on did you decide we’re going enterprise or did you experiment With some other niches or sized companies,

A.C. Evans
early on, we did what any startup should do is if you had a heartbeat, you know, we would sign you. You know, you didn’t matter what you were selling, you know, could have been watches or markers or timeshares. I see a lot of use cases for this. That’s why, you know, yeah, no, early we went, we went super, super wide, right? We just we focused on more, you know, we signed anybody and anything and we learned a ton, you know, and I think that’s when you’re trying to find product market fit. I think I think you have to do that. You know, you don’t you you don’t know any better, right? Like you have to you have to like throw it out there, see what works, see what sticks, see what makes sense figure out how to price it, figure out the problems and the proclivities of different verticals and enterprises and, and we’ve honed it, you know, way down now where we disqualify a lot of the inbound business that we get, not because they they they leverage the tool, it’s just there’s probably better tools or better companies out there for them. If they’re small and you’re dealing with 12 or 50 leads a day. That’s something you can manage on your own you can enable to a texting for your agents to to hold human conversations. But, you know, if you’re a large mortgage company or a large education company or large insurance company, you’re doing thousands or 10s of thousands or hundreds of thousands of leads a day, or, you know, you have millions or hundreds of thousands of members a day that you’re trying to remind them to pay a bill or whatever it may be. That’s a very, very difficult thing to manage at scale. It’s cost prohibitive. You run into issues with with blocking, you know, at scale, just like just like you do with email, you know, it’s like yeah, you send a couple emails to Gmail, no big deal. You get inboxes you try to send a million a day. You better have really, really fine tuned very, you know, high end whitelisted SPS and and subscript subscribers. And other things in the like in the telco companies are the same instead of Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, it’s now T Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, etc.

Jeremy Weisz
Drips.com. Not an easy domain to get to.

A.C. Evans
Yeah, it was a it was pretty serendipitous I you know, we were coming up with things that call Drips at the time. And I found Drips was on Sado or sido however you say it sedo.com the big one of the big domain parking sites. And it was listed for like $80,000 or something, you know, way, way, way, way out of our budget. But you know, I looked in the who is registry and figured out who owned it, and what they had up before and it was some investment site. I didn’t really understand it. But anyway, I reached out to the guy found his hotmail address and he said, hey, look, it’s me and my buddy and I’m emailing them from a Gmail and you know, just as a young startup and a couple couple fellows trying to build this, this cool tech analogy for you know drip drip campaign enablement across two way texting which has never been done before that was always a an email thing and we wanted to shorten it and call it Drips to give it a give it our own name and our own nomenclature and get some notoriety around that as a brand. And he loved it he was like that’s great I’m an entrepreneur you know blah blah Are you guys in and he asked if we were in investment software and I said no why he said well Drips is dividend reinvestment. Some acronym Yeah, something systems right. Yeah, some acronym like no MIT. So we had no idea what each other did, which meant neither of us value like I didn’t value his COMM The way that I could have or should have been, nor did he value what we were doing. So he ended up selling it to us, I’m proud to say for i think i think it was $3,000 Wow, nice work. Yeah, thank you. So you’re bad negotiation. You’re good.

You’re the only the only one that went well.
But, um, yeah, that was huge. Like, I try to tell entrepreneurs now and I coach a handful of them. That brand is so important. You know, like when you have a.com and like we spent, you know, good money and got a good logo and

Jeremy Weisz
street cred. I mean, that five letter domain,

A.C. Evans
you got it even on day one, we had street cred even when no clients we had, we had what looked like authority, you know, with with very little we had a lot out of the gate. So when three day blinds, looked at it, it wasn’t you know, drip-systems.net drips.com, you know, and that that brings a level of authority with it that I think you know, I think a lot of people underestimate these days. Yeah, with the dotnet and the dot biz and the dot iOS and things like that

Jeremy Weisz
to ask questions A.C. First of all, appreciate your sharing your journey and experience super valuable everyone should check out drips.com and And check out everything they’re doing. And if you know someone that he mentioned, that should be using it, tell them check out drips.com because it’s a it’s a scalable solution for and humanized also which is, which is pretty cool. And I you know, I always asked him since part insider what’s been a challenge moment, low moment in the journey, the business and On the flip side, what’s been a proud moment.

Jeremy Weisz
what’s been a kind of a challenge moment, as you talked about, I mean, it’s always a windy road, what’s been a challenge moment, low moment for the company.

A.C. Evans
I think in the beginning, you know, for me personally, the struggle was trying to build without running out of money, you know, like we were Midwesterners, you know, like we my first thought, while we’re building this company was not Oh, we should raise some money and, you know, deploy it and hire a team and go against a burn. We Tony and I had other businesses that were making money and we want to To build something lasting and something scale bootstrapped it Yeah, we bootstrapped it. So we put in, you know, a, you know, a lot of money of our own. But that was it was a finite amount, you know, we didn’t have millions of dollars to deploy. So we deployed the little we had and, and then it was a race against, you know, making money. Like I remember back in the day we were we were making in a month what we are by noon now, you know, on a Tuesday, and I remember thinking like, we just get to this next level, this next level and we, Tony and I pushed ourselves to the brink I mean, you know, I I got to the point where I had to get medicated I had audible hallucinations, which is a terribly trippy thing if you’ve never experienced it, but we would work so hard and run into the red so long for so many days in a row that I would try to go to sleep and I could literally hear my partner Tony’s voice in my head saying random words. And this is the this is a cause of just stressing out too much. Never never, you know, getting real rest and, and just being in the red for too long. And once that happened, I realized I got to, you know, prioritize my sleep a little bit better and

Jeremy Weisz
prioritize. I just got the aura ring the other Few days ago.

A.C. Evans
Yeah, that’s great. Yeah, um, but yeah, you know and since then you know now I’m like I’m a big proponent of meditation and saunas and cold showers and steam rooms and all this other crap very crazy at all. Yeah, big time. But yeah, you know, in the beginning, like I had to kill myself. Because there was we were running out, you know, I mean, like, there was a finite moment. It wasn’t next week, it wasn’t next month, but it was coming and the more I work, the further I could push that that date out. So that that’s hard. You know, and I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t realize that I sometimes you know, I follow a handful of people or friends of mine that are starting their own stuff online and I see all the time they’re talking about, you know, the game or the last series of whatever Game of Thrones or whatever. And I know I know these people are building I know they’re running out of money. And I’m watching and I’m just like, what are you doing? Like how do you have the time to follow sports like you know, I mean, it’s not for everybody right? Like like punishing yourself and pushing yourself as hard as we did absolutely isn’t for everybody but I know a very few companies that bootstrapped to the level that we’ve gotten to that didn’t have that type of upbringing where they just they just ran as hard as they possibly could. So you know, I’ve had plenty of personal struggles with that my my wife, you know, having to ride that roller coaster with me has had personal struggles. So that’s probably one of my most down moments was just the you know, just getting through that candidly and then but but on the on the other side of it now we have a very strong senior leadership team. I’m very emboldened and empowered by them and I got people now that are doing stuff much better than I ever could and they take you know, every every new one of those Men and women on the leadership page and and other managers and other employees like they take a huge lift off of our shoulders. And now I can focus on the things I want to focus on. I don’t have to just, you know, kill myself to get that next deal or to you know, get that next case study or write that next level of code or whatever it is. I’m everybody is pushing in the same direction and I’m, you know, still right there with them, but I’m able to do what I’m uniquely capable of doing.

Jeremy Weisz
Yeah. Thank you so much. totally appreciate everyone. Check out drips.com A.C. really appreciate it.

A.C. Evans
Yeah, thank you, Jeremy. Bye, everybody.