- Alugha generates $1m in revenue
- 14000 customers
- 20,000 unique visitors per month
- Got 12m monthly page impressions last May
- Average time on site is 10 minutes
- Leverage what you are good at
- Don’t be afraid of failures
- Follow your vision
- Make clear the terms of partnership at the start
- Track where your money goes
- Get customer feedback so that you don’t deviate
- Doing everything in house gives you control
- Test your product as a layman
- Fight for your vision
- Simplify your product
Hey Bernd, Thank You for being on the show. So, I know you guys are doing about $1 million right now, but you are rapidly growing and you projected to do about $10 million, 5 to 10 million next year. You’ve got 14,000 customers. So, I would love to know your background and how you actually started Alugha.
Hello. Nice to have you, nice to have me here. Yeah, actually we have a lot of plans for revenue for next year and we already had this plan for this and last year. So let me first start where I come from or where Alugha comes from and then I’ll talk about pros.
Okay. Actually, long long, long ago, I was working in an operating system, which was kind of successful around the world, and then we got kicked out of business, I lost a lot of money, seriously, a lot of money, not to say almost.
Well, actually, we had a CEO who had stolen a lot of money and once I recognized it and flew to save the company, In the end it was too much. And I lost about 10 million. So I lost all I ever had. So after that I went into the music business. One second. I’m sorry. Oh, fine.
So, sorry, I went into the music business because some guys, some famous German musicians, asked me to manage them. And I said, why? You know, I ran a software company with 200 employees. I might be able to manage a musician. Actually, I did it for quite a while and they always asked me, Oh, you run an operating system.
You were in the software business. Could you help me with my Mac? And I always have them say, Oh, this is so annoying. You always ask me, same question.
So I’m going to do a video for you. And I did a couple of videos on YouTube and then I just went further and months later, someone told me, dude your videos get viewed 40, 50, a hundred thousand times.
What? Oh my gosh. People watch my videos so often. So I started this business HoTodi. How would you do it? And I got millions of views and thousands of subscribers and bigger companies contacted me and said, man, the way you explain your videos, we love this.
You explain science, physics, engineering, brick laying, concrete, whatever I love to do, I explain to the people.
And after a while, I became an official YouTube partner in a time when it was not easy to become a YouTube partner in 2008. So I started my video business and I did it for quite a while. I did about five to 600 videos in two years on my own.
So when you say your business, what were you actually selling where you’re just putting out videos and making money from ads?
Yes. Money from ads. People have product placement surveyed about. It was crazy. I made about 30 to 40,000 a year, just on my own. I was sitting at home, starting early in the morning, did a couple of videos and then I had no more fun to do it. And I just want to have it with someone else.
And I just did it because I had fun doing it. And actually after a while, people asked me to do some English videos. So, and I said, well, you know, I have a German channel.
I can understand that it’s limited because it’s German. So my reach is obviously limited. And I started to figure out how to do them in English.
And this time my English was so horrible. It’s still horrible. But at this time it was like really German English. It was so crazy. Anyway, I tried it and then I said, okay, I start with subtitling.
And this time I said, well, subtitling is so difficult. It’s so weird to get subtitles on this video. And it was like read, look, read, read, read, read, look, it was impossible to follow the video.
And then I was sitting at home watching Seinfeld in English and my wife came in and said, Oh, could you switch to German? I said, yeah, sure. So I switched to German.
I said, okay. Hey, I just switched the language. Let’s do it on YouTube. And then I said that doesn’t work on YouTube. It’s so stupid.
Why not? So trying to figure out a way in 2011, how I could do my video in different languages and it didn’t work. So I always had to upload a new language, a new video for a new language, and it was just the audio, you know, was so stupid.
And in 2012, we already had a company together with some other guys and we wanted to do a prototype for my ideal definition of an Alugha.
And so one of those guys said, okay, for a prototype, it needs about 180,000 euros and takes us six months. And then we decided not to do it because it might be too expensive, takes too long.
Maybe it doesn’t work out as we expect. So I came home very frustrated. And then I was sitting in my living room and my son Nicholas came in, he was 15 at this time and he said, Hey dad, what’s going on?
I said, well, you know, I have this idea about multilingual video blah, blah, blah. But I have no idea how to develop it. I’m not a web developer, so I get it. And I’m so frustrated about it.
And it takes six months because 180,000 euros, it’s so sad. And then he said, actually, you know what? I liked the idea.
I said, yeah, me too. Of course. So a week later, I remember it was the champions league final Bayern Munich versus real Madrid. I will never forget. And he came into the living room and said, Hey dad, do you have a minute? I said, dude, I’m watching football. Hello? No, just give me a minute.
So he opened his Mac book and he opened the browser and he started the video on YouTube and he switched the language, and I said, What the fuck is this?
Who did that? That’s exactly what I want. He said, well, because it is your idea. I did it for you. What do you mean? I told you last week on Thursday, I would love to do this.
And today’s Tuesday. He said, yeah, I took the weekend to heck something for you. It’s not perfect, but it’s kind of working already.
Did he use to do development before, or did he just learn in a week?
Yeah. He started when he was 12. He already started to sell software in the app store when he was 13.
Oh wow. That’s great. That’s cool. And I was like, Holy shit, this is exactly what I wanted. And this is how Alugha started.
So I worked on it all the time and I left the other company because we were always in fights and a year later in 2013, the other guy from the other company, the main investor called me and said, are you still working on this Alugha thing? I said, yeah, of course, man, I loved its vision and he said, how’s it going?
I said, well, you know, I’m not rich. So whenever I make money with my videos, after half a day, I started working on the logo and then he said I would love you to come to my office and then show me how it works. I love its mission so much. So I went to his office and I will never forget because you know, it’s such a hassle to get investments and talk to investors.
And I went into the office and we were sitting there and he said, Hey, let’s wait for my dad. His dad at this time was 72. So he came in and said Hey buddy, how are you? And Hey, so you want to show us something as well. I don’t know. Yes. So I presented the product at this time.
It was way further, whereas an upload or things like this, and it still only worked on YouTube. And then after 10 minutes he said, Well, I’m 72 and I understand this is a big deal what you’re working on because I speak German only.
So for me getting videos in my mother tongue is a great deal. What do you need? I said I don’t understand what you mean?What do you need? I don’t know. Nothing. I need nothing. So you mean you do not need money? So I have to admit it was a rich family.
But very honest and very smart and very supportive people. They support a lot of sports in Germany, things like this.
They do a lot of donations anyway. And I said, well, you know, I only have my two to 3000 a month. So I tried to reinvest it. I cannot do base jumps, but I can do taps to get my product done. Wow. So you’re not asking for money, honestly.
I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Your son called me. I came in and I presented the product because we were friends and he’s a cool dude.
That’s all they wanted to know. You know, I love this. I said, what do you love? Oh, what if you start with $500? No. What if you start with $800,000.
And I said, what do you mean with $800,000? I mean, I’m not stupid, but I can follow on some owners. Okay. Let’s do this together with you. You’re the visionary, you’re the brain we will provide the money, so let’s do it together.
We’d take the risk. And then I got 800,000 investment.
How much, first of all, did you have any users on the platform at that point or you were just building it.
No just, I uploaded a lot of videos, but it was just me.
And then how much of the company did you agree to?
We agreed because we’re friends, he’s taking the risk of the money.
I said, okay. You know what? I could try to negotiate with you to squeeze out as much money I could get and give you as last, on shares. But, let’s do it together.
You take the risk, you put the money in. I lost all my money years before, so I know it’s risky even if it’s just money. So we have created the key.
I own 49% of the company. He owns 49% of the company and our CTO owns 2%.
And I will totally agree on that.
Great. Did you have a CTO at that point or you hired him later?
We already had a CTO.
Great. So what did you do with all the money after that?
We agreed that the money lasts for one year and I gave a roadmap about what I’d like to develop in that year with 800,000? Well, in 2016 in may, I went to his office and said, Hey, dude, I need to talk to you.
I already became the CEO. I wasn’t CEO at the beginning. He was the CEO because I was more the CVL, the visionary. I wanted to focus on the product. And after these two years, I came in May and I said, listen, Craig.
My son wants to study software development and he wants to do it in our company. And it starts in September. Yeah. That’s pretty cool. I said, yeah, because he’s a genius and he’s doing all the core stuff in Alugha he’s still, but I will come back to that later and I said, but look, it’s May and we run out of money in six weeks.
I mean, you gave us 800,000. It was meant to be for one year. It lasts for two years and we did four times more than we agreed on.
So we had an amazing product for 800,000 already, but as we’re running out of money, so what I would suggest because you gave the money and we are friends, keeping two or three of the core people in the company, I will find new jobs for the others.
Because we have to do this.
How many people work for you?
16 at this time.
How many users did you have for your product at that time?
A hundred. Maybe a hundred.
Paying customers or users.
Nope customers, but not paying. We started charging last year in December. Okay. So exactly enterprise. That was a different story.
Right. But by then we just had a hundred of smaller customers or users. Anyway, so he looked at me and I said, what do you mean? I said, well listen, it’s your money. So, I respect this and I cannot expect you to just lose all your money. So we still have to do some stuff, but I’m trying to sell the product.
So you get your money back plus the interest and maybe I get some stuff out and then we’re out of business instead. It’s stupid. So, no, I’m not stupid. I’m just honest because we’re friends. Well, listen, dude, we have an amazing product already.
And you use 800,000. Others would have probably asked for three or four times more to get the same product. And I said, so what are we going to do is, you know what, here’s the deal? So you get another, what do you need? 2 million, 3 million just go on.
And you get more shares? No, it’s all fine. Okay. So we’ll still be on that. I was curious, man, this product can become a game changer.
I notice, I know your vision. I know the stabbing tools you have. We did not even have them. It was just my vision.
I understand that education is such a big deal for the world and we can with Alugha make it possible that everyone in the world gets education in his own mother tongue, it’s such a big deal.
Just go on. And I said, Okay. So there was a five minute talk and then I went down, said, well, okay, we got a new investment run.
So what did you do with that extra money? You got 2 to 3 million. What did you do with it? What’s the first thing you did?
We changed nothing. We just hired some more people. Okay. So I’m always, I’m complaining a lot to my people in the company.
They hate me for that. So I’m really looking where our money goes. I mean, I always say this is not my money. That is his money. And I’m so thankful.
And now we have 40 people in the company. What’s the way we are and the way I am is my behavior. I am making it possible for 40 people to have a job they love.
And I would never try to cheat anyone and especially not my investor, because he believes in the product and he believes in the people. So we first went on and we just hired some more developers, actually we were eight developers.
Bernd, let’s go back?
So when you got that funding round, what year was that?
So in terms of product roadmap, what did you do? Did you lay out the whole roadmap for the next 12 months? 24 months?
Actually, that’s so crazy. When I had the idea about the Alugha, I created a roadmap with 120 pages within a couple of days and In 2015, I was creating how the player should look like, how it should work.
And I created the concept and it’s so crazy. If you look at a product now, the mock-ups I did in this time, it’s nearly 95% of what I had in mind. And it’s still going on for the next two years. If I have an accident tomorrow.
The staff is busy for the next two years.
When you were creating a massive roadmap. How were you validating the concept?Were you doing rapid launches and you were getting new customers to give you feedback. How were you making sure that you were not building? I mean, the product looks great now I’ve looked at it.
It looks great. It works really well, but how are you making sure after so long that you were not on the wrong path and you were getting the right feedback.
Yes. So there’s different options you have as an entrepreneur. One is trying to do a customer product and always trying to get customer feedback, or buy stuff.
Like, for example, we needed the content on the platform because we are also doing video hosting and streaming.
And if you go to a local, you get thousands of videos like from live Morgan household daggers from many producers. So we needed a lot of data for our AI. Okay.
And we needed video content and we needed to understand how the product should work. So we could buy data sets for AI. We could produce videos and we could buy customers to use our product, pay people, to use the product.
And I said, no, you know what? We need videos. We need data for the AI. We do all in-house. So the people we have, we have a marketing team and we have a translation and dumping team. We speak 16 languages in the company. So many of the videos you see are translated by us.
And, some people think this is arrogant, but I think this is the way to go for me. I almost never listened to other people.
How can I explain I’m a visionary person so I can see how the product should look to the world. And I’m complaining every day to my developers. What the fuck is this?
I don’t understand this bullshit. What is it? Stupid button there. I can treat myself like a beginner. I can lower my level to understand the product.
I click around and I find all the bags and I understand how the product works and this is my way to go. I’m quite sure that 90% of what we’re doing is what our customers need.
Give me an example where actually two examples, one example, where you really followed your vision versus opinion from, you know, people or feedback from customers, and it actually worked.
And another example that is completely opposite where you actually follow your vision and then work out based on the customers feedback.
Actually, if I’m honest, everything we have on the paper and you see on Alugha and I can show you those papers is exactly what they are wishing. Everything we have added, I have to find myself because even my employees never understood.
Look, I want to have something, you upload a video, it gets anchored. You press a button, you get a transcript to get a sacrament bomb.
And there’s a, and now you go to Alugha, you press the button, you get it. And even the people working at Alugha would tell you, this guy was crazy. He told us three years ago and we did not understand, now we see it.
And it’s hard because you have to fight for your vision actually. People always told us, Hey, be focused. Don’t do anything around as you just started bullshit. Yeah. But we are focused.
It’s like building a soccer team, like real Madrid where you should be focused on the stadium or the seats or the catering or on the players.
It’s an entire project. And actually I never cared if people thought of this guy’s an idiot or I don’t understand what he’s talking about. Look, my vision is that everyone can understand every video, even if you’re blind.
If you’re deaf, if you’re deaf blind, we want to work on tools that everyone can consume videos. That’s my vision that you get a video online. Almost everything gets done by an AI and humans around the world. Fix it for you within a minute. And you reach the entire world.
Bernd, let’s talk about your AI engine. Before the interview started, we talked about it and you went into detail. And I was very impressed with it.
So let’s talk about how that whole thing is set up, where you have a whole combination of AI plus we as humans working alongside each other.
So first of all, we had a couple of options for our AI. Let’s start with speech to text because there’s a lot of tools outside and actually when we were in the middle of trying a lot of stuff so we tried to contribute stuff.
So whenever we take some open source stuff, we give, we contribute back. And then for us, it turned out that most still are the deep speech stuff they do. We were really not happy about that. And then at this time, Facebook published wave to letter.
So we checked wave to letter. And remember when I told you we got all those videos into our own system. So we did a transcript, we did a perfect transcript. We did a perfect translation and it was all 100% accurate. And there was no background noise because we were recording inside the dapper. So the data is already online and it has timestamps everything.
So we used wave to letter and we trained our own AI. With all that data we got and then the problem was that we do a lot of video stuff, but it was still not enough.
And I said, okay, how could we do that? How could we improve our AI? We do not have enough data. There’s this chicken app issue, you know?
And I said, you know what? We got some vouchers from big companies, Hey, try our product. They gave us vouchers for 10, $20,000.
So what we did was we used all those AIS from those big ones, which were pretty bored. And then they trained our own AI.
So you use Amazon, Watson, all those?
Yes. And then we’ll use all this and get it into the system and we train our own AI.
And then those people just fix the mistakes and then within minutes our AI gets 100% accurate.
Wow. Wow. That’s pretty great. How many users do you have active at the moment?
Currently, we have registered 14,830 users. It might be more now but it’s around this number. It’s about 15,000.
But what’s the breakdown between the free users and the paid users?
And so we have a bunch of enterprise users. They use Alugha as a white label solution. They pay between 700, 2000 euros a month. And then we have influencer customers, they pay 200 bucks a month.
There’s also a bunch of them. And then we have the small business customers who pay 39 euros a month.
That’s quite some of them because they say, okay, we want to use two or three languages. We need an hour of videos a month or two hours. I don’t exactly remember. And we have about, I would say about 8,000 to 9,000 free users probably.
Okay. So how did you build such a massive user base? I know you’re doing a promotion on AppSumo and we’ll talk about that in a second.
But prior to that, you have a substantial user base. How did you build that over time?
So this is crazy. We had about 20,000 unique visitors per month last year of Feb and March. And I said, Oh my gosh, 20,000 unique visitors per month. It’s crazy.
And then, I mean, it’s stupid. It’s a joke. That’s probably a YouTube in the millisecond month, but then we started, we said, okay, the product is rocking solid.
Now streaming is working quite well. The player is fast, we have CDN around the world, so we need to start marketing. And then we started.
I’m sorry. How are you getting those 20,000 unique visitors a month whether you’re doing SEO content marketing or paid advertisement or anything like that?
No, just so I don’t know how we got them.
We have 400 followers on Facebook because we don’t care about Facebook. Yeah, seriously. I hate Facebook, so we don’t care if we have followers there or not.
And we had those 20,000 users a month. I don’t know where that came from. Well, actually, I mean, Yeah, seriously. I don’t know where they came from.
We just had them, which was pretty cool.
Because your product was very sticky. The engagement rate was very high. So whoever came on the product for such a long time that Google loved it, they were like, okay, this site is very relevant and you got free love from Google. Basically a lot of it.
eah, of course.
Yeah, I think so. So, and then we started to create marketing strategies. I had this idea, for example, even though there’s archive.org and archive.org, it has a lot of videos, and I love classic movies.
Classic movies are time history. You know, when we started with movies up today, it’s like black and white movies and I started the project for education and classic movies.
So, they all have to be multilingual. For example, you know, track law, the movies from 1980, it’s in 12 languages, but you will find it in English only.
Probably if you go to Alugha, you find it in all those languages, multilingual. It has been viewed about a hundred, 150,000 times. So there are about one or 2000 classic movies like this.
We collect on the Alugha, we re-digitize the audio, we fix it. And then we put it multilingual on Alugha. What happened then beside those education and other videos, we started marketing campaigns. And then In June, we have a hundred thousand users.
Sorry, sorry. I need to go back. The first strategy you talked about actually sounds very good. Let’s talk about that. So, first of all, how are you pulling the data from archive.org, did you have an automated API access or something like that?
No, actually the problem with those movies is that they most of the time do not have a good quality.
They’re noisy. The audio is not good. So actually it’s all my work. And I can tell you, I have over 7,000 over hours on top of my regular work, since we started Alugha.
On the weekends, I sit here with a Blu-ray drive and I rip all those public domain class movies. I buy those DVDs of blue rays.
And then I ripped them onto the system and I cleaned them up. I fixed them and uploaded them to Alugha.
How do you clean them up? Is that something you do through Alugha or you just use different applications?
Yeah, actually I do this offline. I have different applications for this, right. The point is we get emails from Mexico, like people are so impressed.
They are for free, you know, you can consume them for free and beside this we have got a huge multilingual archive, which is unique. So what happened in June, we got 20,000 users to a hundred thousand unique visitors per month on a website.
I said, Oh my God, this is so crazy. And then, to make this long story short. In May this year, we have 12 million page impressions with 5.6 million returning visitors. And the average time on site is about 10 minutes per visit.
Wow. Okay, let’s go back. I think we need to break it down further. So from when you got 200,000 unique visitors a month by just publishing those, you know, creative common videos in different languages, you cleaned them up.
Did you host them on Alugha? Did you do anything else or you just published them and you started getting hits?
No. We do marketing. That’s why I said we use volume. For example, that’s a tool, it provides an AI. It recognizes where a user comes from.
And what she’s looking at Alugha and it suggests how we could put online advertisement into exactly this area to get more audience.
I can tell you, we do not invest more than 3000 bucks a month for marketing, for online marketing, that’s all. And we will never use Google or Facebook marketing.
We don’t throw money at these evil dudes.
So you started publishing those videos by cleaning them up and you got a bunch of traffic from there. How many of those people were turning into Alugha customers? Not customers, users, free users.
I would imagine a very small amount, but still a significant amount.
Actually I can tell you at present, I think it’s about 50 to 60% turned into registered users just by watching. Yeah, that’s crazy.
Oh, wow. Okay. So how did you get to millions of paid users after that? Let’s go from June till now, what did you do?
Actually every month we optimize, so we had a meeting every month.
Okay. This was the last month we promoted those videos in this area. We need tier one areas, tier two, tier three areas. We analyzed every month very exactly.
We are that good already, for example, where a customer a couple of weeks ago, who does videos about photography said, I would like to get Chinese customers watching my videos.
How could we do this? Is it okay? You give me marketing. How much do you want in which area and the money you want to spend? And is it okay? This is the X amount of money I want to spend. I want to get 50,000 views in Chinese, in America, okay.
You got this and we can exactly target the group and the exact area for the exact language with volume and propeller ads and so we do not count a video views below 10 seconds, but I mean, you’ve got statistics, so we can exactly tell you how long those videos got watched in which language from which area.
And they were quite excited. They said, wow, we did not expect it. I mean, I’m always like on a ship. I need this video, like we had a band in Germany, they do music in 12, sorry, eight languages, eight or 10 languages.
And they said, we want to become famous in Russia. So we need this song Special People should be in Russian.
And in Russia we need 20, 30, 40,000 clicks. And I said, okay, it’s probably a hundred bucks. We can be exactly targeted for you. And that’s how we optimize this from month to month.
Even now, after Corona flatten down more, we still have this month probably nine to 10 million, just nine to 10 million. So it got lower for about 10 to 20%, but I still think that’s pretty cool.
So, what else are you doing apart from doing all that crazy stuff to grow traffic on your site?
We have a sales team. We do marketing. We exhibit on a lot of shows.
We try to spread the word everywhere. As I said, we do a lot of education stuff, we have a project on education called Alugha education. So there we’ll use Alugha as a complete white labeled solution, which we sell to customers. So we show them the use case.
They go to education, they see hundreds of multilingual education videos in Arabic, Hindi Chinese, Russian, German, Spanish, Serbian. And then we trade on use cases for white label solutions. So for example, we have some companies to try to be like, a smaller Netflix.
They need players. They need encoding. They need CDM, they need object storage, they need streaming. So they use the entire Alugha environment.
Great. Great. That just gave me an idea. Have you explored OTT networks where you can integrate with things like Roku and other streaming platforms where you can have a video, you can really translate into different languages and then push it up there on different channels.
Actually we have customers, they are working with Netflix for subtitling. So one customer, for example, he is in India. He provides Netflix eight Indian languages. And I’ll have to come to Mumbai to his office and work there from home and things like this.
He was struggling a lot because I don’t know how I can control it and how can I see what they do and is it right or wrong?
They started using Alugha for the upload and Netflix movie and then they have the team all around India. They just log in from home and they work on it. And now, instead of selling eight languages to Netflix, they sell them 15 to 20 languages.
Nice. So you’ve got all of this crazy stuff going on. Why did you do a launch on AppSumo? What’s the reason behind that?
So we have this, again, there’s this AI stuff we need data which is important for our customers. We need more videos to improve the AI for speech to text and machine translation. And this is one of the things.
The other thing is, you know, AppSumo people always, we have some people on Appsumo who say well, you make a shit load of money and I tell them, listen, you pay 69 bucks one time.
And you can use it your entire life. It’s a lifetime deal. So we have to pay the storage and the traffic and CDN, and then the coding every month.
So, and, you know, AppSumo needs to make money as well. So we get a small amount of this 69 bucks and we calculate it because we know exactly how expensive it is to reach paying customers.
And it was like, okay, this is a win-win situation. We get data. We get videos, people embedded the video. We have a lot of AppSumo users who embedded the video to the website and with the Alugha logo. That’s pretty cool.
So it’s a mix between marketing, getting data, getting user feedback, getting users and it’s important that you get users that complain. I don’t understand your product. It’s stupid. I don’t know how to use it. I hate it.
And these people, if I can convince and convert these complaining people into happy customers, even if I just adjust my product here and there, because they do not understand then I’m doing a great job and getting this people, you can buy this people.
You can buy it. I mean, you know yourself, you can buy it, you can pick companies using your product and give you the feedback. They are hell expensive. It’s crazy. We had a lot of offers but it’s too expensive. I can hire people for this money.
And now we have two more people. They’re happy. They give the feedback, we could use that feedback, we get data, the videos get embedded. They use our player. So, we were ready at this time.
Unfortunately, Corona came in between because we had a big press conference at the South by Southwest this year because of the dumping tools and things like this and the new AI we worked on, unfortunately, this didn’t happen, but the combination of South by Southwest and AppSumo and winning the Tata innovation, working with the European TJ.
This was all combined and AppSumo fitted them perfectly into this timing.
Right. That’s great. So how many, so just for someone who’s actually listening to this and they might think, okay, we might do AppSumo launch for a different reason than money. How many users did you pick up or how much money you reckon you’re gonna end up making from it?
I don’t know if I can talk about it. It’s a four digit number of users.
Right? Great. That’s really good. And what’s been your feedback from the customers?
From, I hate you. You’re a bad-ass asshole. You cheat the people. It’s amazing. I love the product.
And that’s what I’m so proud about. I love the way you guys do support. A lot of comments you can read is even I got an email today, dude, I bought a product because I saw you and I will chat with you.
And you’re so fascinated about the product I had to buy and to be part of it. Actually it’s everything in between.
We have people like we had a customer on AppSumo. He bought a product and he came online and said, what is this shit?” I said, what do you mean we do not sell shit or toilets?
Or what are you talking about? This shit product. It’s really shitty. I downloaded it. I use it and it doesn’t translate my videos. You guys cheated people.
I go to the police. That’s what he said, dude, what’s wrong with you? We never say if we translate your videos. Oh you do. I said, okay, if we said this, please show me it and I will apologize.
You will get the money back. I didn’t find where you said it. Well, yeah, because we didn’t say it. So he went to AppSumo and gave us a very bad review and we talked to him.
And what he’s saying is pretty mean, and we cannot accept this as review. So you have all of that. And then I agree.
It’s really good to see because the product is probably for some of them, it’s kind of complicated. And I need to be motivated to get in an hour or two or three.
And I said, yeah, I totally agree. But I mean, once you understand the product, if you use Adobe premiere or DaVinci resolve, it will take you months to get in, but in the end you get frayed results.
So if you’re not willing to invest a couple of hours for the learning curve, You should always use YouTube because it’s easy to upload that too.
Right. So, one last thing. So you imagine who’s listened to this and they have been given, you know, the same advice, which is very sound that look, talk to customers, really build a product based on customer feedback and then start to get customers as soon as possible. And as you build, you should talk to them, blah, blah, blah.
But you did completely another way where you just followed your vision and you ignored everything else. what would be your advice to people, the visionaries or the people who are just starting out just generally?
You know, it’s always easy to give points of view from outside, because you want things.
I had this vision with Alugha. And when people always tell me, like, even my employees come in, like my UX UI designer says, Hey, you know, this guy did it like this and this, this.
I say stop, stop, stop. I don’t want to know. I don’t care who did it and how it did it. I must get the impression it works well.
And I’m a stupid person. So if I understand the product, almost everyone can understand. My advice always is of course you can listen to others, but vision is in your mind, it’s in your head and no one can look into your head. No one can connect the dots in your head. So if this is your vision, you should go with it.
If you fail, you still don’t fail because you will learn a lot. I lost my company two times. And both of the times I could say, Oh, because of this customer, because of the CEO.
No, I was the idiot. I have this customer, I hired the CEO. So if I went back some steps, it was always me making this mistake.
And I’m always happy that I lost everything because I learned a lot. And, In my opinion that’s what I always tell the people young startup entrepreneurs, don’t listen too much to others.
Don’t be money driven. Really. Don’t be money driven if you believe in a product and you can sell it, it’s pretty cool.
If you do not want to sell it or you cannot sell it, you still learn a lot. I can tell you there are some very well-known companies. They contacted us to invest into us or even buy us for a lot of money.
I could stop working. And I said, no, my vision is not ready. So, I mean, on one end you can create a product you want to sell, which is okay.
But on the other hand, and this is very German like, I think a good thing is that my investor is a 200 year old industrial family, which has about 25 to 30,000 employees.
So they are in for the long term. They understand that the vision needs time. And another advice is honestly, people always say, Oh, the product has to be ready.
I don’t give a fuck if it’s cool, we publish it. If it doesn’t work, we made a mistake. Okay, that’s it. But don’t wait too long.
Get out with the product, listen to the feedback, fix it or remove it and always be honest with yourself and say, okay, this is bullshit. What were my decisions six months ago? It’s so stupid. As I have the knowledge today, I get rid of it.
Great. Bernd, thank you very much. It was a great pleasure talking to you and hearing your point of view, very refreshing. And then the fact that you managed to lose two companies, that you still have that energy to keep going.
And it looks like you’ve built a great software, I used it, and it’s great. It gives a lot of hope to me and, I hope whoever was listening to it would get a lot of inspiration from it. So thank you very much, and I hope to speak to you again.
Thank you. Bye bye.
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