183 FS Code My Views with Nate McGuire and Connor Hood

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02:47 - Connor Hood Introduction

03:33 - Nate McGuire Introduction

04:00 - Code My Views

07:17 - Commoditization Pressure

09:40 - Fees & Differentiation Between Agencies

13:34 - Why should someone work something like Code My Views?

19:20 - Dealing with Scope Creep

22:56 - Pricing

24:12 - Content

25:08 - When Clients Insist on Particular Stacks/Expanding Stacks & Focusus

28:46 - Updating Skills

30:15 - The Evolution of Design

32:50 - Getting Agencies as Clients

34:31 - Is the idea of a solo freelancer approaching an agency a dying concept?

37:53 - Who should not come to Code My Views?

39:03 - Estimates in One Hour

41:51 - HiringPicks

Force Block: the Star Wars spoiler blocker (Jonathan) Flu Shots (Jonathan)The Ridge Wallet (Philip)Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories that Resonate by Brian McDonald (Philip)KIWI Brand deba Style Flexible Stainless Steel Knives (Philip)Laracasts (Connor)Browsersync (Connor)SalesLoft (Nate)Sendbloom (Nate)Let's Encrypt (Reuven)

Transcript

[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collections and prefund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support, and they’ll give you a $2,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $4,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow.]**[This episode is sponsored by Nird.us. Do you wish that somebody else would handle all of those operation details when it comes to hosting your client’s web applications? Nird.us is a Ruby on Rails managed hosting designed to make your life easy. They migrate everything for you, and new sign ups referrals come with a $100 discount or referral fee. To sign up, go to freelancersshow.com/nird, and enter ‘freelancer’ into the contact form for a discount.]****[This week’s episode of the Freelancers’ Show is brought to you by Earth Class Mail. Earth Class Mail moves your snail mail into the cloud giving you instant access 24/7 and integrates with the tools and services you use everyday. It’s crazy that we’ve moved everything we do for the business over to the digital world but still need to pick up, sort and manage physical mail. With earth class mail, you can get all your mails scanned and accessible online 24/7. You can search your mail, send invoices over to your accounting software, sync important documents into cloud storage, deposits checks and really just make running your business a whole lot easier. You also get real professional address to share publicly with customers, business partners and investors, and you’ll never need to worry about someone showing up at your door if you run your business from home. Visit freelancersshow.com/mail and you’ll get your first month of service free when you sign up.]****REUVEN: Hi everyone and welcome to episode 183 of The Freelancers’ Show. On our panel today we have Jonathan Stark. JONATHAN: Hello. REUVEN: And Philip Morgan. PHILIP: Hey hey. REUVEN: And this week we have not one, but two special guests, Connor Hood and Nate McGuire. So each of you, tell us about yourselves a bit. Connor, you first. CONNOR: I'm Connor Hood. I am based out of the lovely awesome Texas where it is currently 75 degrees in December, which is great. I am one of the founding partners of Code My Views, which is a business I started with Nate. And my background over the past several years is I'm really been on the development side of things with coding, and I started a wide array of businesses that all deal with different aspects of development, and yeah, so that’s me. REUVEN: Ok. And Nate, I hear you're involved in something called Code My Views. NATE: Yeah. I’m Nate McGuire. I’m also one of the founders of Code My Views. I’m more on the user acquisition and product side of things. Connor and I started a previous business together a few years back very similar to this that we sold, and this is the second iteration of that. I started out at Ernst & Young and then Apple, so some nice and juicy corporate experience. REUVEN:**Excellent. So by the way, I should mention, I’m Reuven Lerner. I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself before. And so we are going to talk to you guys about your business, how it works, how you work at it, and what it’s like. So how long has Code My Views been around? This must be the easy question [chuckles].**NATE: Ha ha. We’re at 6 months now. So we’re just really getting ramped up, restarted the business this summer. Connor and I got back together and we've been rolling along since then. REUVEN: And so can you tell us what it does? NATE: Yeah. So we work primarily with agencies providing development services, basically is their white label back end. We found that a lot of creative agencies are super good at the creative side of things there. They have really talented designers, they have really talented ad and branding people, but usually they lack the expertise on the development side to execute the projects that they're capable of designing. And so we found a very strong partnership with agencies so we can develop their technical projects for them and it turns into a nice recurring relationship. REUVEN: So when you say they can’t do the development, I assume from seeing the side and understanding a little bit about it, you’ve probably got front end development, right? Like HTML, CSS, JavaScript? NATE: We do full stack stuff. We offer front end development, PSD to HTML – that was the primary business that Connor and I worked on together before was just front end, but now for agencies, we’re offering front end, WordPress sites, custom applications, basically a full service shop. REUVEN:**So the idea is I [inaudible] an agency, I have some graphic designers and they're fantastic at doing PostScript – not PostScript; they're probably not so good at doing postscript – they're very good at doing Photoshop, also with the [inaudible]. They're good at doing Photoshop so they can then hand you guys a Photoshop and tell you what they want to have in the views and the flow, and they’ll basically get an app back from their storyboards as it were.**NATE: Right, exactly. In some cases, these agencies will have some kind of development team on staff, but they're usually overloaded and so they’ll hand us off the views, we scope out the project, we have a very precise process that we walk through to get them on board and make sure that everything’s scoped out appropriately, and then we turn around the code anywhere from 7-10 days for a WordPress site to less than a month for a custom application. So these guys get things back to them fast and working fast. REUVEN: And you say this is similar to a previous business you had done? NATE:**Yeah. The first one was called The Site Slinger. That one was mostly PSD to HTML. We did some WordPress, but obviously, it was you work on things [inaudible] you gain a lot more experience, and we found that there's definitely a lot more value to be added in the full service shop, not just front end.REUVEN:[Inaudible] Now, how was business been so far? You said you started 6 months ago. Do you have clients already, agencies that are working with you?**NATE:**Yeah. So we actually ramped up really quickly. We've got a number of agencies in San Francisco [inaudible], out of Austin and all over the globe that we work with already. So it’s been ramping up really quickly and we’re excited about the opportunity to get in front of more agencies, talk with more people over the next year.**REUVEN:**That’s really wonderful that you're increasing the unemployment among software developers. Good for you [chuckles].**NATE:**No, we’re hiring. We need more [chuckles].**PHILIP: I work with software development shops a lot. I see a little bit, at least, into what's going on in their world, and I think that they, like a lot of other services businesses, are facing commoditization pressure. And maybe not so much the small shops, but the solo software developers. I think more and more it’s not enough that you just know how to code; you have to bring something else to the table. And I’m wondering, Connor, Nate, if you guys have seen that happening in your world or if maybe you're part of that. I don’t know, but what are your thoughts on that? CONNOR: Yeah. I think that’s a great point. Well, we’d say though to that is I think what's happening is previously as a developer, you can have one focus; maybe it’s just on one technology, maybe you're a really good PHP developer, but as web development has evolved quite a bit over – especially over the past 2 or 3 years with responsive web and having to make things look great across all devices. You can’t really just have a single focus anymore. You have to be able to do a little bit of back end, a little bit of front end, and that’s another big reason why we've shifted from only doing front end work just because to be a really good developer and be successful, you have to have the full set of knowledge, I think. And also, of course, if you can also bring marketing and some basic understanding of that into the table, that makes you even more competitive when you're looking to get a job as a developer of a company or with us. PHILIP: Yeah. That reminds me a lot of Patrick McKenzie who talks about if you can mix in just a little bit of marketing knowledge with your technical knowledge, it’s just sets you miles ahead of the competition. NATE:**And I think that something that has helped us early on having – have the same set of customers basically twice now is that we are value [inaudible] we understand how to work with agencies. They have a very specific work flow. They sell customers in a very specific way. They close contracts of a very specific size. And so going into it and being able to say ‘we know how you work and we know what your workflows are going to be. We know how to integrate nicely into that so that it’s a very seamless experience’, that knowledge is something that people really appreciate.**JONATHAN: It seem a little bit like you might have positioned yourself at maybe a lower end of the value chain if the agencies are doing all of the customer acquisition and closing the deal, all that. Do you find you have a hard time increasing fees? How do you keep your fees from just being commoditized? What sets you apart or what allows you to create more value for the agencies since you're not dealing directly with the client? CONNOR: I think that we’re trying to position ourselves as the absolute best in terms of quality. And I think the skill level that’s required to build even just the front end websites these days is a lot higher than it was 3 or 4 years ago, and again, just because of some of those things I've mentioned especially just the responsive web. And so actually, a lot of our customers are – they treat us almost as partners just because we’re able to deliver them super high quality stuff that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get unless they're going to go and hire a super senior developer and pay him a 6-figure salary. So even though we’re not building relationships direct with big brands, I think we’re positioned in a good place just because the development aspect of the process for agencies is just so important. If they send two months building this amazing design and they can’t actually execute on the development side, then they just lost a huge account. And so as long as we can keep delivering on the quality, it’s – I think we’re more positioned in the right place. And I think our fees are, if anything, they're increasing just because the complexity continues to evolve especially on the front end side of things. The requirements to be a good front end developer are just so much different than 2010, 2011 when we were running our last company. And I think that – our expertise in that area is what really sets us apart and keeps us in the door with these agencies. JONATHAN:**Yeah. I totally agree that it’s changed a lot in the last five years or so, but I mean, how do you differentiate yourself from somebody like Clearleft or [inaudible]? There's definitely good agencies out there that do that. Is it your marketing or is it – your project intake flow on your website is interesting. I’m wondering if that or maybe the way you do the marketing, like you got a Photoshop design like just going to a meat grinder. You make it sound a lot more automatic than some of the really bespoke firms, so I’m wondering if that as a key differentiator or are there other things that differentiate you from famous development firms?**CONNOR:**Yeah, definitely. I think the long term vision here and actually is pretty short term here is a fully automated platform that we will be launching hopefully in the next couple of weeks where it’s basically an entire project management system for very custom tailor for web development where the entire process of building out what we call a development brief, which is the starting point for all of our projects, is pretty much fully automated. And so Code My Views is really turning into this platform where agencies can just log in to their Code My Views account, upload the [inaudible] files, get a guarantee in delivery date for the project, and also have a full insight into all the milestones along the way. So that’s really on the product side, but also, just on the sales and marketing side, I think we've developed some interesting strategies in terms of outreach agencies with our messaging and they get a lot of people that are emailing in everyday and saying ‘hey, we’ll be your development partner’, but I think the way we’re going about that specifically is what's helping us at least get our foot in the door, and so then once we have this full platform built out, that’s the [inaudible] part that’s going to really [inaudible] them in the door working with us.**REUVEN: I have two questions which are related, which is one: why would an agency then, if they have lots of work to give you, would it be more worthwhile for them just to find a really good front end designer and hire them to work full time instead of hiring you guys, or even a part-time contract basis? And the flipside is if your front end designers working for you, Code My Views are doing such great work, then why are they working for you and not going out and getting 6-figure salaries as great front end designers? CONNOR: Well, to the first point, I think the big issue right now especially with agencies is – well, it’s an issue with everyone, which is developers are really, really hard to find especially the good ones. They are going to demand these huge salaries. And oftentimes, especially in cities like San Francisco where the developer – the average salary for developers is 140 grand, at least a senior developer. And so an agency is going to – if they have the budget to afford that developer, that’s great, but even then, oftentimes the top tier developers just aren’t going to want to work on an agency. They're going to want to work at Google or some big company. And so that’s a big issue. They just simply can’t hire the best developers. NATE: And if they do get them, they turn really bad. CONNOR: Right, exactly. But then – at least to your next question, then why would these developers work with Code My Views, right? And I think that’s kind of the skill that I bring on the table. I have a really strong network of developers all over the world that I've worked with for many years that they're not the type of developers that want to go have a full time job and they like the flexibility of the platform that we’re building where if they want to take on projects, they can. And it’s not like they have to go sit in an office everyday. And also, given that some of our developers are in London or Amsterdam or even we have some in Asia, agencies – they see some risk in hiring someone that’s not in their office everyday, and so we’re approaching it with the angle ‘hey, we have this platform. You get access to all these amazing developers’. And even though these developers aren’t in their office everyday, it helps them feel more comfortable with that process because there's guarantee in delivery days, guaranteed cost, and there's all these kinds of quality checkpoints along the way so they know they're going to get the code back, it’s going to look great, and their customers are going to love the work. NATE: And they're always talking to someone, whether it’s Nate or Connor that actually is in the US that knows what they're talking about and has insight into their project, whereas if I’m an agency trying to hire an outsource freelancer, I got to put in management overhead, maybe I’m not technical myself so I don’t know if I’m getting crap code back. There's all these kinds of risk that go into ‘ok, now I can’t find a full time dev and I have to outsource it. What is the least risky way that I can go about this?’ And since we’re targeting – ultimately, it also comes down to how we segment our customers and we’re definitely targeting the high-end agency. And so for them, pricing is not as much of a concern as getting it done on time and getting it done well and making sure that it’s executed and maintainable. And so you really have to have a good process, a good management around all that to achieve those types of results. PHILIP: Sounds like you guys are building a platform like Fiverr or Upwork except that it’s hyper targeted towards one problem and it’s got all this process and predictability baked into it. NATE: Right. CONNOR:**That’s exactly right. I think the way I explain it on a super high level is a better version of Upwork [inaudible] called. With Upwork, if you're trying to find a developer on there, you have to weed through thousands of profiles and [inaudible] their interface just isn't that good. And so with Code My Views, you could sign up and submit a project and you're guaranteed that you get access to the best developers for whatever the project is that you have. And then in addition to that, you have all the kind of project management what we call a project engineer assigned to each project that’s actually managing the process from start to finish using the framework that we built out onto the platform.**REUVEN:**So my question before was about why would people work with you [inaudible] as employees, but sounds like they're not employees at all. You're working with freelancers, in which case, it sounds like a big win for these front end designers because they then get a steady stream of high-quality projects as in your interest to bill it out in a high rate and they have high quality because that just adds to your – not only to your income, but to your reputation.**CONNOR: Yup, exactly, exactly. And also, that’s just built out in a way where there's really strong review systems. So if you're a really good developer and you're working within our platform, if you do a really good job, you're going to always get the best projects whenever they come to our system. And so the developers are super motivated to deliver the best work just because we’re constantly getting new projects into the system, and like you said, it’s – for freelancers, one of the biggest challenges is making sure that you have a steady stream of income, and so by partnering with us, we’re guaranteeing that. And also, we’re guaranteeing really awesome projects just because the customers that we’re working with are oftentimes building some really cool innovative web applications or websites for their customers. And so there's definitely an advantage on the developer side of our business in terms of working with us. JONATHAN: So how do you deal with scope creep because it seems like – I've worked on a couple of really high profile responsive redesign sites that customer was directly involved throughout the process on the designs. So do you insist that the agencies done with the PSDs before you look at them? How does that go? NATE:**That’s how our process works down and so if we are – say you're a typical agency coming to us, usually where they will engage on the process initially especially if they’ve already worked with us before is the spec out quote face. They’ll get a general idea of how much it’s going to cost, [inaudible] in to their [inaudible] the engagement, and then once the designs are done, come back to us for a guaranteed delivery date. We do a full spec of all the designs, give you a fixed fee, and then for engagements that are more complex, like say it’s a custom application – and we've built so much software, we know there's always bound to be changes especially when you're getting into some of the high end stuff that has much larger scope to begin with, and so for that we always address the scope creep before we start doing any dev on it, or we offer – we try to stay almost a hundred percent away from hourly fees, but we offer our partners a – basically a discounted hourly rate just to cover anything so we’re not sitting there like turning our wheels and losing a bunch of money.**CONNOR:**And also, just to add to that, once we do try [inaudible] we try to collect as much of the [inaudible] upfront, and of course, knowing that there’s going to be a lot of changes, what we do is we deliver the first deliverable and have the customer review it, and then they add a fixed amount of time where they can go back to their customer, get feedback, then actually upload it to our platform what we call ‘to do list’ or ‘task list’. And we guarantee them to get those so changes done, and then anything that goes above and beyond that, they're going to get billed either for tax or as Nate mentioned, by the hour. But it’s all – all that stuff is built out into the platform so it’s really easy for them to come back to us, and if they needed another page added to the site, we’ll do it and they're just going to get basically another invoice or another cost associated with that.**JONATHAN: Interesting. NATE:**Another thing we've gotten some good customer feedback on because like I had one of the customers, just this week, be like – we work with these so and so outsourcers and every time we came back for a change request, which as an agency, you don’t – you can tell the customer know to a certain point, know we can’t make this change, but ultimately the agency is obligated to the client to make the change that the client wants. And so it’s not really our customer’s fault that things are changing. It’s the end client that’s driving that change, and so being able to work with the agencies and understand that things are going to change – that’s just how software is – makes them a lot happier versus like an outsourcer freelancer that’s like ‘nope, project is done. I’m out of here’ because a lot of these guys have had to deal with the after-effects of freelancer just [inaudible] out.**JONATHAN:**So it says on your site that you said get a guaranteed price quote; I’m sure that’s very attractive to especially to your clients so that they can do an SOW. But it also mentions the word estimate. It says here estimates are good for one year. Are they estimates, or are they – you also said [inaudible] talking that you give a fixed price. So I’m really into pricing and how people price off a project. I’m curious – it sounded like you were just describing it, but I didn’t understand it. So like if somebody comes to you and they say ‘ok, here’ – what do you get? Like 10 Photoshop documents or like a document per page or –?**NATE: I would say that the estimate portion – basically, that someone sending me an outline or wireframes, the guaranteed price is like you have PSDs and or a technical document and I can go through and spec out the entire thing and that quote is what's good for a year. JONATHAN: Got you. CONNOR:**And once we get those design [inaudible], we’re actually converting it into our formalized development brief, and that – whatever is in that development brief, which is the detailed spec, that has the guarantee part associated with it. And that anything that’s not in – once they approve that, that’s where – that’s how the price gets locked in. It’s like ‘come back later and have things that – new page that needs to be added or there's stuff that out of scope. That’s what we get into adding additional cost to the project.**JONATHAN: Yeah. Change orders. CONNOR: Exactly. JONATHAN:**So I’m curious, where does the content come from? You just pull it from the Photoshop documents or like is [inaudible] so when you get it and –?**CONNOR:**Well, usually for the sites where we’re building – if it’s a marketing site, our customers are usually having it – having us build it out into a WordPress content management system, and we’ll copy whatever content is in the Photoshop file and seed the CMS [inaudible] with default content. But it’s really up to the customer to go in and add the content. We’re not generally [inaudible] anything on the content side other than just getting the base layout in there. And of course, we have people – if your customers want us to fill off the CMS with content, they’ll send us a doc, and then we can all add from, but that’s generally not something that [inaudible]. We try and make it really easy for the customer and be able to edit the content, add post, add testimonials, whatever the functionalities that they need directly into the CMS that we built for them.**JONATHAN: Got you, that makes sense. What happens if, as has happened to me in the past, when somebody insists on a particular stack, like maybe they say ‘we don’t want to use WordPress’, or maybe they say ‘we don’t want less files, we want CSS files’ or – you know what I mean? Like they want the delivery to be in a way that you don’t prefer to do it, or do you not care? CONNOR:**So we do have our preferred frameworks, but with that being said, we have a pretty diverse set of developers, and so we’re [inaudible] things like that. We’re always willing to be flexible on that. It’s really in terms of WordPress versus Drupal. We always, almost always, we’re trying to push our customers to use WordPress just because it’s – well, we have [inaudible]. It’s just our own personal preference. But at the end of the day, we’re going to do whatever the customer wants us to do, assuming that we have the right resources for it. And so that’s what it comes down to is if we feel comfortable that we have the right developer for the job, then we can make it happen for them.**REUVEN: Do you see yourselves expanding to more and more stacks and more and more technologies over time, or would you prefer to remain focused with WordPress and a few other technologies to be known for that? I've heard it’s good to keep your business focused on certain technologies so people know who to turn to. CONNOR:**Well, I think there's pros and cons why we’ll say – especially in back end development. I think the language is – it’s not so important. I think really just making sure you have solid fundamentals in terms of how to build a web application is the most important whether you choose Ruby on Rails or you choose [inaudible] or a Python framework. As long as you have a developer that has an understanding in that language, that’s really all that matters, assuming that they're an engineer that can build web applications. As far as CMS integrations go, we’re pretty [inaudible] only doing WordPress. Oftentimes, we won’t build out a CMS in any other framework just because it’s – I think on the CMS side, it’s just – it is important to have a focus on one specific framework just because I think there's not a lot of ambiguity on how you do a CMS. It’s pretty [inaudible] forward in terms of what the input it and what the expected output is.**PHILIP: If you are talking to someone who’s a brand new developer and they're just starting to go freelance, then they want to maximize their chances of getting agency clients, what skills would you recommend they acquire? CONNOR:**Right now, what I’m seeing is there's a huge lack of really good front end developers that can do responsive, can do CSS 3 animations and all that stuff. And so I think if I was telling a junior developer to focus on something, it would be to – it would probably be a really good front end developer. And that doesn’t just mean HTML and CSS. It’s also mastering JavaScript because I think that’s really where things are going, especially with JavaScript. There's just so much more stuff is happening on the front end, and the back end is really more about building out a really solid API that your front end framework can then quickly integrate in and pass stuff back and forth in real time. So I think a front end developer is – the value of a front end developer has increased exponentially over the past 4 or 5 years. And we've seen that just in terms of the price [inaudible] that we charge for the PSD and HTML work that we were doing at our last company versus what we charge now for this that same type of work just because the level of complexity has increased.**PHILIP:**How often do you think people – well, software developers should plan on updating their skills, like [inaudible] on a two-year lifetime for what's current now, or is it shorter than that?**CONNOR:**It’s probably – I learn something new – gosh, there's a new JavaScript framework or some new technology that comes out every month, but you do have to be careful because some of that stuff can be distraction. But I would say it’s important every year to stay up to date and read the blogs and see what's coming out. But with that being said, I've been doing WordPress development now for 7 or 8 years, and although that has evolved [inaudible] just with all the new WordPress releases, the WordPress development is still similar to what it was 5 years ago. But with front end, I think front end is completely different. There's – in 2011, we were having – the skill set was completely different. You would have to know how to cross browser test in Internet Explorer 6 and [inaudible] weird CSS flags. Where now, front end developers, it’s a lot more advanced running – using like [inaudible] and node and things like that to make your workflow a little more efficient. So I think if you're not learning something new and really evolving your workflow every year, then you're going to fall behind pretty quickly especially on the front end side of things.**PHILIP: Yeah, makes sense. JONATHAN:**You’ve seen a lot of differences from when your previous iteration of this sort of service to now in the nature of the Photoshop designs that you get? Are they significantly more complex? Do they include animations now where before they didn’t? Are the designs conducive to a responsive interpretation? Do you get [inaudible] with mobile versions and desktop versions or do you just get desktop? How much has it changed from the first time to this time?**CONNOR: I would say it’s evolved quite a bit. The designs are definitely a lot more complex, I would say. In the past, you would get one pretty simple design file and it’s basically write the HTML or write the CSS, make sure it matches, cross all browsers and that was it. Now, it’s – sometimes we get Photoshop files, sometimes people will use Sketch or all these different kinds of design software that you can use. And then in addition to that, sometimes we’ll get one Photoshop file for the desktop version, one for mobile, one for tablet, and so there's just a lot of complexities that have been added. And then in addition to that, in the last business, just because CSS wasn’t nearly as evolved as it is now, a lot of the work was simply slicing up images from the Photoshop file. So if the designer put a rounded corner on a box, in 2010, 2011, you couldn’t do a rounded corner with CSS. JONATHAN: Those were the days. CONNOR:**Yeah, exactly. So you just slice it out and it’s going to match perfectly. Now, you have to figure out what's the radius of the rounded corners, the average [inaudible]. What's the correct syntax for CSS to do all that stuff? And of course, there's tools that make that stuff a lot easier, but it’s just – it’s definitely, I would say, a lot more complicated in terms of the designs that we’re getting from our customers.**JONATHAN: Right. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. That’s what I see, too. CONNOR:**And then also, it comes down to, I think the customers that we’re targeting with Code My Views versus our last business is just – it’s definitely a different tier in terms of quality. We’re going after the best of the best people that we’re working with really big brands. [Inaudible]. There [inaudible] designers at these [inaudible] agencies are – they're got to want to use the latest and greatest technologies and as a result, the designs that they're sending to us are just – they're pretty advanced and involves a design files that we get.**PHILIP: This might be more of a Nate question. Nate, what have you learned about actually getting agencies as clients that might be beneficial to the freelancer or the small shop out there who wants more agency, who wants in on the action – wants more agency clients? NATE: Right, for sure. I think agencies are great customers because to me, they almost look like a SaaS business. These guys are out hustling every month and they have projects every month. And so to break into that, you have to be, one, be persistent because every month, it’s there's a new month for them and so it should be a new month for you. You should be checking back in with the agency every month and be like ‘hey, you got any projects this month? What's coming up?’ The other thing is if you are a US-based developer, use that to your advantage because everyone who does any kind of dev work is going to hit up all the time by the outsource agencies in India and people overseas, and they’ll usually just completely write you off, and so use that to your advantage. Write a very clean and specific email if you're using outbound emailing to get their attention, and put some time in and do some research because you're going to have a way better conversion rate of somebody if you take a couple of minutes to look at their site, look at their Linkedin, maybe they had some recent press, maybe they just did a super cool project with Nike, like reference something relevant to them rather than just like ‘hey, I do PHP. Do you want to hire me?’ I feel like you can really dig in and make a good connection with these people. PHILIP: Nice. JONATHAN: Follow on question to that is do you think that the idea of a freelancer, a solo freelancer, approaching an agency is kind of a dying concept in that this model that you guys are advocating or trying to get going – sounds like you are getting it going – is more the way of the future. It’s beyond the virtual agency what you're doing. It’s like what we’re saying before. It’s like a highly specialized Upwork. Do you think that’s more of the model in that it’s going to break in to tiers for most big clients, or you think that it’s – there's still room for both? NATE:**I think right now for sure, there's still room for both. I look at it – it’s a curated marketplace, what we’re doing. If you're a solid freelancer that can get the attention of these agencies, they're absolutely still hiring these people. Most people that we work with have [inaudible] take all that business and do it – do all of it. But they absolutely are hiring for both of those types of people.**CONNOR:**Just to add, I think that main advantage of our model is that having project management shell that you get on top of it because I think the biggest breakdown in freelancers is that if you don’t get a freelancer who is really good at the project management aspect of it, building out of timelines, building out what needs to get done then oftentimes it will fall apart. So that’s the beauty of what we’re doing. All of our projects, you have a dedicated project engineer that’s making sure that we have all the pieces in place, that all the timelines are being hit, which is one of the biggest benefits for agencies and why they like working with us so much as because when we say that they're going to get something next Thursday, then they're going to get in on next Thursday and it’s going to get done correctly the first time. And you can find good freelancers that will do that for you, it’s just it’s definitely hard and it takes a lot of time and money to invest in [inaudible] that perfect person. And with Code My Views, you get instant access to that entire process.**JONATHAN: Yeah. You guys absorb a lot of the risk. CONNOR: Right. REUVEN: But beyond the risk, I think it’s a very clever mark – and good for management. I think it’s  a clever marketing technique also, because thinking of these agencies, they're used to that model of you have people working on something like you have the creative folks and you have a project manager watching over them and checking the spec and checking the schedule, and then you have a QA person checking on things. So you're basically replicating the agency model just almost like a sub-agency, kind of. But because it speaks their language and works the way that they do, they sort of figure ‘well, people rely on them, so we can rely on these guys’. CONNOR: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And honestly, eventually we can even start to upload a lot of that work that the agency have. So they have a dedicated project manager that’s managing the process on our side, but as they get more comfortable with using the platform that we have, and we already have a QA person on our side, we have the project manager, and so eventually, it’s basically have an agency here’s my design assets, push a button and then they get back and finish. And it’s completely streamlined and completely automated even though there's actual people in the system that are doing all the work that they otherwise have to do in-house with their in-house PMs, in-house QA people. JONATHAN: Yeah. Looking at your site – I’m sorry. REUVEN: Who’s a bad client for you? Who should not come to Code My Views? NATE: Yeah. I would say that probably the people that there's just not a good fit are more SEO marketing agencies. Because you have to think about how they price their projects. Like a design creative agency is charging a good amount for the design and development of whether it’s a marketing site or a custom application, they're charging for that, versus a SEO marketing company especially on the smaller end of things is probably making most of their revenue from whether it’s some sort of SaaS subscription or ongoing hosting or some kind of ongoing services, and they usually offer their website at cost. And so when you're offering your cost and then trying to outsource it, it just becomes really hard for everybody to get on the same page with how much it should cost and that kind of thing. So I would say those are our least successful segment that’s related to agencies. JONATHAN: I was noticing on this site – to me, from thinking from the standpoint of somebody who hires external agencies, which I do, I look at the site and the sexiest thing about the whole thing is that you guarantee that I’ll have an estimate in an hour; that is amazing. So can you talk about that a little bit? We talked about it a little bit before, but could you give any more specifics for people because I think that is really attractive. NATE: When people come to us, usually, basically, they're giving us all the information that they have at that point in time. And the more information that they have, the more specific we can be. And so, because we have so much experience spec-ing out and scoping out all across the board all types of projects, we have that expertise to be able to come to you and say ‘this looks like a 10-12k project’ or ‘this looks like a 50-60k project’. And the more info the further along you are in the creative funnel, the more specific we can be. CONNOR:**And also, just to add to that, I think if you [inaudible] project that we do [inaudible] a specific type, it’s either a front end project, PSD to HTML, or it’s a WordPress project, or it’s a custom web application. Each of those projects have a default starting point and they all – like a final project has a certain number of pages, and so given that we have a default set for all these projects, we can very quickly iterate from that and figure out if this project has 10 pages, it’s going to take a hundred hours; if it takes a hundred hours, it’s going to cost this amount of money. And then same with the WordPress project and web application. Just because we've seen so many of these projects, it’s very easy for us to very quickly estimate the amount of time it will take to complete it based on the information that they provide. Like Nate said, it really depends on how much information they're giving us. If they're just writing a really generic statement about their project, it’s going to be really difficult for us to get back to them with a good price quote and that’s general [inaudible] we’ll have to apply and say ‘hey, let’s get on a call so we can better understand the requirements of this project before we give you that guaranteed price quote’.**JONATHAN: Yeah. I was actually thinking of the reverse where somebody gives you a 40-page spec document. CONNOR:**Well, that’s the ideal. If we get that, we’re able to – we have a full set of requirements and we’re able to very quickly iterate on that and turn that into one of our developer [inaudible] - and once we have the development [inaudible] built out, that’s how we’re able to very quickly price out the project based on the amount of time it will take.**NATE:**I would love if we got a 40-page development brief every time, but it’s [chuckles] usually like pulling piece to get all those questions answered and making sure that we ask about every interaction and every feature just to make sure that everything gets captured.**REUVEN: Very neat. Actually, I went to your website before and I went to the where it says Jobs for your hiring, and I was curious to see what sort of people you're looking to hire. And I’m not going to give away the secret, but it’s definitely worth going and taking a look at how you’ve done that if it was a very, very clever way to weed out the nerds from the non-nerds. CONNOR:**Yeah [chuckles]. Thank you. Yeah. And you’d be surprised that [inaudible] and we get tons of people that fill that out and they get to the whole process and it’s been a good way to, as you said, quickly [inaudible] developer that can actually join our team and help us on projects.**JONATHAN:**Ah, that’s hilarious. [Inaudible] I clicked through the dialog twice without reading it [laughter].**REUVEN: Excellent. Well, I think, if we don’t have any more questions it’s time to move into picks for this week. Jonathan, do you have any picks for us? JONATHAN: Yes, I do. I have two picks for us. A lot of people probably don’t know this, but there's a new Star Wars film coming out –. REUVEN: No way! JONATHAN:**By the time you hear this – yeah, I've heard it – by the time you hear this, it might be too late, but if you have not yet seen it by the time you hear this, there is plugin for Chrome called Force Block: the Star Wars spoiler blocker, which [laughter] uses artificial intelligence to read pages before you do and put up a sort of like a spam or – it looks like a phishing blocker, almost of like ‘watch out! There's probably spoiler’ alerts on this page. So I definitely have that installed because I am not going to see the Star Wars movie on the release night unfortunately. That’s my first pick. And my second pick is flu shots. It’s flu season here in the US and I've gotten really sick twice already. So I went to the doctor today and got my flu shot. Hopefully, that will be it for my all exit to no weeding for the next couple of months. That’s it for me.**REUVEN: Very good. Philip, have any picks? PHILIP:**Do I ever? I want to say Jonathan, that plugin does not sound good for browser speed [chuckles]. It’s got to look up every page. First take is a wallet that I've been using for 3 or 4 months now and fallen in love with; it’s called the Ridge Wallet, if you guys ever heard of this thing. It’s like two metal and plastic plates that are exactly the size of a credit card secured together with some elastic stuff and [inaudible] elastic to what you stick in a couple folded bills. And so it’s a compact wallet; it’s meant to go in your front pocket and not screw up your posture as you're sitting on it because you won’t be sitting on it. And it is really well designed. It actually has a [inaudible] curve. I've never had a wallet that had a [inaudible] curve, but to access the cards, you got to stick your finger in a recess in it and cause the cards to come out and then pinch it in a certain way and then beautifully all the cards just fan out and you can grab the one you need. Really cool design and I've been road testing it for long enough that I feel like I can recommend it. So that’s the Ridge wallet. And second pick is a book called Invisible Ink. It is available for $4.99 on Kindle written by a very successful screenwriter, I think, and it talks about how to construct a story in a way that is interesting and – it’s not written for a business audience at all; it’s written for other screenwriters, but if you're interested in upping your game when it comes to writing interesting stories, I think it’s definitely worth a read. It’s also very short and easy to read and uses great examples from the cannon of cinema. Final pick is something called the Kiwi Brand knives. This is a little outside of what I normally talk about in picks, but I just hate going in somebody’s kitchen and there's a freaking dull knife in there. These are the best knives I've ever seen. They're so cheap, they're almost disposable, but they have the sharpest edge I've ever seen from sort of out-of-the-box, and they're easy to keep sharp and they're available quite widely. They're called Kiwi Brand kitchen knives, and I’ll stick in links so we can put those in the show notes. That’s it for me.**REUVEN: Very cool. Connor, do you have any picks for us? CONNOR:**Yeah, I've got two. The first one is the site called Laracasts and the messaging on the home page is ‘It’s Kinda Like Netflix for Developers’. So I think Laracasts is a really, really great resource for any developer if you're an advanced developer, junior developer, to basically watch videos about learning new skill sets. And Laracasts is mostly focused on wearables so it’s PHP, but they also have a bunch of videos about this new JavaScript framework called [inaudible] that we've been doing a lot of work with. And the guy that runs it, Jeffrey Way, I've learned almost everything I know about web development from Jeffrey Way, and so I always try and point people who are trying to learn how to code to Laracasts. It’s just a really good resource and I highly recommend it. The second one I have is called – it’s this tool that I've been using a lot lately and it helps make front end development more efficient; it’s called Browsersync. You can find it at browsersync.io. Basically, what it is, it’s a [inaudible] that you can install, and what it does is as your – let’s say you're writing some CSS and instead of having to save the file then go back to your browser and refresh the page, it actually watches all of the CSS files [inaudible] files, and anytime that there's a change it actually will automatically refresh your browser for you. And so, it’s just a little timesaver that can make your development process a lot more efficient if you're doing a lot of front end development work.**REUVEN: Very neat. Thank you. Nate, have you come up with any picks? NATE:**I have. I actually have two for you. And so these are more on the user acquisition sales side. There's two tools that I now [inaudible]. The first one is SalesLoft – salesloft.com. They actually have two tools. The one that I would recommend with SalesLoft is their prospector tool and what that does is allows you to basically prospect for new leads based on whether it’s geography or title or organization, and then helps you build lists for an outbound emailing campaign. If you don’t do the outbound emailing, yeah, I would highly recommend it, and the tool that I would use to do outbound emailing is Sendbloom, which is sendbloom.com. The gist of it is you identify a highly targeted segment and then you build custom emails that go out to that segment and they feel – basically they help create warm leads for your business when they reply, and so these people are already basically warmed up on your content, warmed up on what you guys do before they even come to the top of your funnel. So those are my two picks.**REUVEN:**Very neat. I've got one pick for this week, and I just learned about it in the last few days so I haven’t even had the chance to try it, but it seems really exciting. It’s called Let’s Encrypt – letsencrypt.org. And basically, I think all of us have to deal SSL or [inaudible] certificates for securing websites, and it means finding a company and are they good, are they bad, do we really care, and it just becomes this really annoying and possibly expensive depending on what options you want thing to do. At the same time, it becomes [inaudible] a lot of modern websites because if you want PCI compliance, everything has to be under SSL. So Let’s Encrypt, which is at letsencrypt.org, is this new certificate authority, a new CA, which you need to have in order to accept certificates. And it’s sponsored by such small players as Cisco and Facebook and Mozilla and Akamai and the EFF. And they're basically saying ‘we want SSL to be everywhere, thus we’re going to make certificates free’. And I can only imagine what the commercial CAs are thinking about this, which is probably not appropriate for a family show such as ours. But it looks really, really interesting. I've heard here and there that there might be some problem with certain browsers accepting it, but I’m guessing that those problems will go away. It’s currently in beta; public beta, as they say. So I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but I'm really itching to try it in the next even few days after we record this because it seems like it has a lot of potential. And I guess that is the end of our show. Nate and Connor, thank you so so much for joining us and giving us lots of amazing insights into your business and how you run it and your clients and all that other fantastic stuff, and we wish you the best of luck.**NATE: Thank you so much for having us. And if anybody wants to check us out, we’re online at codemyviews.com. But if anybody specifically interested in learning more about just how we work with development and how we spec things out, we've put together an easy to use doc that describes our process at developmentworkflow.com. Again, that’s developmentworkflow.com and it spells just like it sounds. REUVEN:**I’m very, very glad that you remember to tell us where we can reach you since I would’ve remembered that tomorrow [inaudible] too late. So thanks everyone for listening. Thanks everyone for the show, and we will see you all next week. [Inaudible]**REUVEN: Alright, thanks guys. This was fascinating. Oop, awesome. PHILIP:That is great. [Chuckles]CONNOR: Thanks for having us. I appreciate it. That was a lot of fun. REUVEN: Excellent. Well, really, best of luck. This seems like a very, very cool business. I must admit before the show, I was like ‘well, I guess I can sort of understand a little bit’, but now I obviously have a much better understanding and I’m very optimistic for you. I think it’s a great idea. CONNOR: Awesome. Thank you. [Hosting and bandwidth is provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN.  Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more.]

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