Speaker 1: Hey there, product lovers. Welcome to the Product Love Podcast, hosted by Eric Boduch, co- founder and chief evangelist of Pendo and super fan of all things product. Product Love is the place for real insights into the world of crafting products as Eric interviews founders, product leaders, venture capitalists, authors, and more. So, let's dive in now with today's Product Love Podcast.
Eric Boduch: So, welcome lovers product. Today, I'm here with Chris Stegner, co- founder and CEO of Very Big Things. Chris, why don't you kick this off by giving us a little overview of your background?
Eric Boduch: That's awesome. That's awesome. Well, you kind of nonchalantly started talking about a business when you were 13, right? So, let's talk about that first. You did 3D graphics, a website about building 3D graphics and you sold that eventually, right? Take me through that as you're 12 or 13, or however young. You were really young.
Chris Stegner: Yeah, I mean, so it was, this is what it looked like. I mean, I've always been an artist and when computers came around, that was just immediately, extremely appealing to me. I don't know why. It just for some reason, I looked at it and I said, " This is what I need to spend all my time on." And then I was reading a magazine one day and I saw this new 3D graphics soccer was coming out where it could create these amazing visuals using 3D software. This was before Pixar and all that stuff, so or at least before we knew of Pixar, before Toy Story. And the software that you'd buy to do these graphic stuff was about$4, 000. And I don't think my parents had ever spent that much on a car before, so the idea of spending out on some software just was never going to happen. So, I did what any rebellious 12- year- old kid would do, and I got it for free off AOL. But this is the most complex software that maybe to this day I've ever tried to use. It's incredibly complex 3D software. Usually, when you buy the software, it comes with four big books. And I'm trying to, I've saved this because that's the four of them. It was literally boxes big of books, that would teach you how to do everything in it. And usually-
Eric Boduch: Yeah. In that case, because this is audio, right? You're talking about books that are 4 inches thick.
Chris Stegner: Exactly, exactly. Oh, yes, sorry. This is audio. Yep, so yeah, yeah.
Eric Boduch: It's all good. It's all good. We'll explain.
Chris Stegner: Yeah, probably four books that are 2 inches thick each is about the idea of it. So, I didn't have these four books, because they didn't come when you download it for free off AOL. So I was sitting there and I was saying, " Okay, well, as I learned how to use the software, why don't I build stuff out for the community, so that other kids like me can learn this stuff, too. And people will just want to use it to create really cool artwork, right? Not trying to make a business off of it." And so then I said, " Okay, let me start writing some tutorials." And I've started looking into this internet thing and I've started learning about HTML. But I have to figure out what servers are and all this stuff. And I just kind of kept pushing at it and pushing at it and pushing at it relentlessly. And eventually, I got a website up that had these tutorials, teaching people how to use the software. When that happened, what I ended up realizing is even the professionals didn't reading the four books. So all of a sudden, we became the place that everybody would go to learn the software, even people who got their college degrees in this stuff. When they went to make the switch over to 3D Studio Max software, they come to us. And so it wasn't too long before the manufacturer actually started shipping our brochure with every piece of the software, saying, " Hey, for continued education and interviews and reviews go to 3d Studio Max worldwide." And there happened to be, I mean, I fell into a good business model here, which is there was about 100 plugins that you can buy for the software, and each plugin costs about$1, 000. And there's really us and one magazine. We're the only places that they can advertise these plugins. So, all of a sudden if they sold three copies of it through us, it made sense to give us 500 to 1000 bucks a month. And hopefully they'd sell 10, so all of a sudden, we had a bunch of these different plugin manufacturers advertising with us. And just like that, when I say just like that, but it was about eight months of learning how databases worked and SEO and all these things, and building communities and figuring out how people wanted tutorials to look and all that stuff. But through all that process, all of a sudden, I'm making more money than all my friends' parents were, so it was pretty cool. And then yeah, we ended up being acquired by 3- dreview. com. They brought me on. There was another acquisition, another acquisition, internet bubble burst. And so, there's a three- hour podcast in there.
Eric Boduch: Yeah. No. I have my own story there, too. It's definitely could run a whole podcast series around bubble bursting stories from the old dot- com days. So, I'm not sure how many of the younger people want to hear that story.
Chris Stegner: But I feel an immediate connection with anybody that lives through it. I'm like, " Wow, you lived that thing, too." And people are doing it. I feel like we all kind of know exactly where we were at the moment that we can register as the bubble burst in our lives, you know?
Eric Boduch: Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely. I mean, we were in the middle of selling companies, as you can imagine a tech company, so that's not the best time to be trying to close out a transaction.
Chris Stegner: Yeah. What kind of tech company was it?
Eric Boduch: We're doing a software to connect backend systems with web- based applications, so.
Chris Stegner: Got it. crosstalk.
Eric Boduch: How do you connect the backend of the legacy world with the frontend of the internet world, right as the bubble is bursting, so not the best timing, but-
Chris Stegner: The fact of bubble burst thing that would have been a great business, so.
Eric Boduch: Yeah. No. It was going. It was moving in the right direction. What a story for another day. Still have to talk about very big things. You mentioned six co- founders. Well, first talk to me about the big things you're solving today, Very Big Things, then we'll jump into a little of the structure and how you guys are organized and there's lots of interesting things there.
Chris Stegner: Yeah. No. So great question and great approach to it. So, at the end of the day, what we're really trying to do is, well, so like I mentioned, I was at a VC fund, right? And we're at this VC fund, we give companies$ 5 million or$ 3 million, whatever. And we say, " Cool. Now, go and build this thing." And it would be awesome if we built it in three months, maybe four months. And then they'd say, " Okay, sounds great." And they're all excited. And then all sudden, six months later, they're still trying to build a successful team. They're just trying to hire people. They're trying to make sure that the resumes that they're reading were real. They didn't really have a way to do proper due diligence on these hires yet. And just, and then even once they hired some people, making sure that the personalities click between them and leading them the right way. It's just an incredibly difficult process to build a product team. So, all of a sudden we'd end up nine months later with very little to show. We're likely would be building something that we ended up having to throw away. So, we started saying, " Okay, just hire an agency." They already have the teams built, and that way, you just go, you give them a check, you get something built, and six months later, we're on the road and we're rocking. So, the problem is that the agencies will all have this mindset of, " You write us a check, we'll return a piece of software and it was great knowing you." And that's just how that agency worlds always worked. So all of a sudden this idea of like, " Well, no, we're a startup and things are changing every day," just didn't click with it. So, we didn't find success in the building their own teams, we didn't find success in the market with that agency. So, we said, " What is out there?" And unfortunately, the answer was nothing. So, we said, " Okay, well, when you're an entrepreneur, what are you supposed to do? You're supposed to solve your own problem." So, we said, " Okay, let's create a new company and what we're going to do is really help companies." Whether it's enterprise or startups that are basically like we want to take on some big new initiative. We don't have all the internal resources to do it. However, we want to do it in a way that's actually going to make it successful. Not just return a product, but actually return success. So, it needs to be able to work with the team. Their fears or our fears. We're looking at the same metrics of success that they are and we're there for the long term. So, that's how we started Very Big Things with that idea of basically, jumping in to help our clients become successful. We're pretty picky about who we do work with, but when we do work with somebody, it's for the long haul. It's like, " Let's get you every stage of the way to hopefully, end up, I don't know, either taking you public or getting you a couple of billion dollar valuation," but that's the route that we go. So, crosstalk.
Eric Boduch: Yeah. No. I think that's great. So, as an entrepreneur and you started your first company you were like 13, so it feels like that's probably inbred and part of who you are, right? Why do the agency versus in- house, why not build another company? What made you decide you wanted to be personally, because obviously, you have the skills to put together the back end of the technology, what made you in essence be kind of the supplier, so to speak to all these startups as opposed to, " Hey, I'm going to go off and do X, Y, Z company myself?"
Chris Stegner: Yeah. And it's probably a mix of a few things. On one hand, I feel like what personally makes me the happiest and maybe where I'm best at is in the really early rocky days, the company. Once companies are kind of rolling smooth and everything's going great, then I tend to get bored and I'm going to say, " Okay, what's next? How do I just hand this off to somebody else? And find the next kind of big growth problem." And this is, I guess, my own drug in a way at Very Big Things. There's always a new startup that we're working with, always a new client. We're always kind of in that, " Let's get them through this rough point to where everything's running super smooth." And then the client is super happy at that point. They're like, " Awesome. Everything is running super smooth." We don't have the weird mindset that you do, Chris, to where there has to be all this excitement happening. We're totally good with things just being successful and growing and being awesome." So, then we help hand it off at that point, or at least I do, and our team usually keeps working with them. But so for me, there's a good side of that. And then the other part of it is, once again, very selfishly, but I personally want to be around people that are doing the best work that's ever been done in the world. That's really what gets me going is being like, " Look at the work that we produced. It's more innovative. It's producing a more exceptional level than anything that's ever come before it." And when you're just working on one company, it can be hard to do that, because you're only getting one point of view. And we're extremely blessed in the fact that we're working with, at all times, 10 extremely successful startups and 10 totally different categories. We're seeing, " Oh, they want to raise money this way. Oh, they want to market this thing this way. Oh, this is how we need to talk to this audience." So, by the time we take all these insights, I think it's unfair to compare any team that's working on one product all the time to us. It's just, they're not getting the same experience that we are. So, it's not really an apples to apples comparison. So it allows us to do, in my mind better work than anybody else. So that's, and that tickles my fancy, so.
Eric Boduch: So, you mentioned six founders, what was that like putting together a team? And a lot of the struggles that that companies have in company formation is how to split up the pie, how to divide up equity? Six founders I imagine makes that complicated, too. What's it like having such a big founding team?
Eric Boduch: Yeah. Curious how did you guys divide up the pie or the ownership? I mean, to the extent you're willing to share.
Chris Stegner: Right, honestly, not one of those things that we usually share, so.
Eric Boduch: Yeah, it's classified. It's always one of the challenges, too, when you have a larger team, how you split up.
Chris Stegner: Yeah, I guess at the end of the day, you have to talk with every person coming in and say, " Hey, what do we all looking for at that stage?" And then making sure it's something everybody feels good about.
Eric Boduch: Yeah. And you mentioned, now working with someone you've worked with before, as a partner and you mentioned rookie mistakes. So, I imagine one of the rookie mistakes is grabbing a partner that you've never met, worked with before, that you might have met through an introduction. What other rookie mistakes do you think founders make?
Eric Boduch: What was the company called? I'm curious now.
Chris Stegner: Yeah, it was called For. Tuito. Us and it was one of those weird domains. It's like F- O- R- period- T- U- I- T- O- period- U- S.
Eric Boduch: Not the easiest thing to find when you'd sound so-
Chris Stegner: Not the easiest thing to find. Luckily, they all shared it for me, but no. And the general premise was that MySpace was the biggest thing at that time and MySpace was supposed to be for finding and creating new friendships and connections. But at the end of the day, its filters were like, " How tall are you? And how much do you weigh? Are you a boy or are you a girl? Are you..." It was very much like quasi dating, where you just look at people's pictures and say, " Okay, you look good enough to be my friend." And this was the opposite. It was kind of a revolt to that. A little bit of like it got a rebellious tendency throughout, I guess, the day I was born. And part of me just said, "Uh- uh( negative). No. I don't like that." So instead, we said, people will be friends without seeing each other and just randomly paired with other people for four days and they have real conversations with each other. And then at the end of the four days, if they still feel like, " Hey, I actually like you as a human being," then they can choose to see each other's photos and all that stuff.
Eric Boduch: I like that idea. That's pretty cool.
Chris Stegner: Right? And so, crosstalk next year.
Eric Boduch: That might be cool today.
Chris Stegner: Yeah, I mean, at least these days, I feel like there's more genuine, people looking for more just true friendships in a number of different facets or at least go into the proper places, proper channels for the proper connections. There's so many channels these days. But yeah, so I would definitely say another rookie mistake is rushing something out, not assuming that everything will go right. And that's if I were to really capture that, I'd say assume in your mind, everything goes as well as it possibly could, are you prepared for that?
Eric Boduch: Yeah, yeah. The" are you prepared for success" side of things. One of the other interesting things I found about Very Big Things is you have international operations, right?
Chris Stegner: Yeah, we do.
Eric Boduch: Offices over in Europe. What was it like? What made you have the decision to do that? What is it like managing that? Because you're relatively small. What 50, 60 people maybe at Very Big Things?
Chris Stegner: I think we're just about 80 now, but-
Eric Boduch: Eighty, okay, so older numbers. But yeah, I mean, growing really quickly, but still, it becomes a challenge when you're running a number of time zones in some ways and it can be an asset, too. So, what made you decide to do that and how do you manage that? How does that affect your whole development schedule?
Chris Stegner: Yeah. So, I mean, the way it happened was pretty organic like I mentioned, that consulting company, the first three people that were hired there. They were like just the best ones in my mind there and ended up partnering with us at Very Big Things. The three of them happen to be from Croatia and I think part of me really liked the bluntness and non- BS personality of people from Croatia. So, when we get together at these company retreats, we just clicked, but they're so good. And so, when we partnered discussing how do we build out a development team of the best developers, really extremely high level ones when every company is fighting for them. And how and where do we do that? And at the end of the day, these guys are so good that they just had so many people in their circles that were wanting to work alongside them to see how they do things and how they built things, that was the easiest place to go to find extremely high- end talent. So, we basically just start saying, " Yeah, hire the extremely talented people that are dying to work with you." That was probably our first 30 employees. And then from there, things got more difficult to where now, we're actually opening things up to where for what we consider to be architect level. You're above a senior level developers. They can really work anywhere, and we just bring them into our solution. So, sorry to not ramble on it. I'd say the clear cut version of that is, since Day 1, we've had basically three offices and we've operated the company as if we were a fully remote company. But we think of it like this, we're a fully remote company that has three privately owned co- working spaces. So, you can jump into any of the three offices anytime you want, but all of our processes were designed as if we were remote. So, when the pandemic hit, no big deal for us. We've been remote anyways. So now, all of a sudden, people just weren't really coming into the office. So now, as we branch out, we just have more and more people outside of those offices, it's not a big deal either, because our whole process had been set up for that, so we got two people up in Boston. We got somebody up in Orlando. We got somebody in Colorado. We've got people all over the place now. We got somebody up in Seattle. So just wherever the best talent is, is where we're grabbing it. But that's how we initially set up that office.
Eric Boduch: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it sounds like one of the keys was having a co- founder in each of those locations when you're first kicking them off? I mean, how important would you say that is?
Chris Stegner: Oh, completely. I mean, yeah, if we were, I mean, because these are our actual companies. It's not like we just went to a staff augmentation company and we're-
Eric Boduch: Or just tried to hire from their through-
Chris Stegner: Or just try to hire, exactly, to where I mean, that would be, in my mind, a much more terrifying scenario because you need to be able to depend on that team that's always going to be there, too. And if you're just kind of hiring a team, there's not the same passion, there's not the same like, " Hey, we all got into this with the same goals." At the end of the day, they're just saying like, " Cool, we're here for the paycheck." And the paycheck, that's a scary motivator versus I think people at the end of the day need to. Especially your leaders and people managing those shops need to really understand what the goal is and want to be a part of that.
Eric Boduch: Awesome. Now, one of the things he talked about was working for a small agency building a lot of mobile apps, building a lot of stuff on the enterprise. what was it like building mobile apps for a lot of these huge enterprises? What was it like building for the enterprise in general?
Chris Stegner: Yeah, I mean, so the enterprise clients that are coming to us are coming to us for the fact that they're looking for not enterprise. You know what I mean? Does that makes sense?
Eric Boduch: Yeah, I know what you mean. I mean, it doesn't want to feel big, stodgy corporate. It wants to feel like, I don't know, young hip, exciting.
Chris Stegner: Exactly. And on top of that, they're getting disrupted by the people in hoodies and flip- flops and garages that are coming in and three years disrupting a$ 10 billion a year company, that's what they're dealing with. And basically, they want to come back and say, " Okay, so how do we disrupt our industry? How are we the disruptors instead of some kids doing it?" And so, I guess in those scenarios, I think we help fulfill that role of we can come in and be like, " Hey, we are the extremely, the edge of the knife as far as innovation goes. As far as excellence and delivering things, we are those kids, except we're much more refined, much more polished. We've done it so many times that we're not figuring out as we go and catching lightning in a bottle. We catch lightning every single time. So, you can depend on us. But we're bringing you the same thing that those groups from time to time happen to stumble into," or I shouldn't say stumble into. You're talking about great people, but the greatest people in the world when they're doing something new like this, if they aren't following a perfect process that's been ironed out, it's still so much luck. And if you hear all of the great stories, you read Outliers, the book and you get lots of books behind you, then it's luck plays such a huge role. What we've done with Very Big Things is we've built a system that no longer relies on luck. It's like, " Okay, you sign up with us, then we're going to follow these steps and every single time, we're going to end up in a road of success.": But still enterprise companies are getting that cool innovative group. The big difference between them and when we're actually working with a startup is there's more data. There's more things that have already been created. There's more things that you need to go into their full operation and say, " What's everything that's massively valuable here?" The things that took 15 years to build up, that a startup could never just create. And instead of saying, " Let's ignore that, and let's go and build something Greenfield," like I think a lot of companies would come in. Instead say, " How do we take these massively valuable pieces you guys have, and use that towards this disruptive new version of you guys?" So, it's things like that. Some agencies might look at it as baggage, but instead, we say, " No, the diamonds are in there." And going through and finding those diamonds versus when you're working with a brand new startup, everything's from scratch, so that's the big difference, I find. It's just going through and really getting into their organization and figuring out all the things that they have a value before starting a project with them.
Eric Boduch: Yeah. And I'll loosely call this digital transformation. But I know it's, that's a vague enough term that can cover all this, I guess.
Chris Stegner: crosstalk.
Eric Boduch: But, what hurdles do you face when trying to work with these companies? When working with some of the largest companies in the world through such big initiatives?
Chris Stegner: Yeah, I mean, it has to be a company that's willing to do it. They've got true buy- in on it. You have to have a champion in there. So I said, like you said, we're very picky about who we do work with. So, we don't find ourselves in a situation working with a big enterprise company that feels like they're ready to move forward, but they're not really because that could just kill a project. When there's kind of buy in, not total buy in, and then you just start hitting one roadblock after another. So, I'd say, those are the things to look out for. But yeah, so I mean, just as long as you have true buy- in with the company and they're all for it, and in our experience, it hasn't been a big deal. But did that answer the question? Sorry.
Eric Boduch: Yeah. No, I think it does. I mean, having that strong champion that you know that there's commitment behind this direction, because a lot of cases, there's innovation groups inside large companies that are there to innovate, but they aren't necessarily going to be able to drive those innovations through the corporate structure of the big entity, right? They're there to test things out and to try to sell it, but don't necessarily always have enough clout to push through all the changes, even if they think they make sense. So you're really looking for companies that have kind of that structure in place and are making a commitment through your firm, to change the way they're doing things at the highest level.
Chris Stegner: Yeah, I love that word, the commitment to. That's a spot on. And then I'd say the other thing there, because to your point, the thing that a lot of companies could be fearful of is getting stuck in the big machine where every decision takes three months, and you got people that are politics inside of the organization, all those types of things. But I think that's where the choosing the right clients comes in. But then on top of that, as I mentioned before, we're not depending on luck. I think there's agencies out there that I feel like produce products at the same level that we do. I just feel like we do it more consistently. There's agencies that have produced products that I'm just like in wow of. But then you look and it's like, " Okay, that was their one of 20. And on that one, they knocked it out of the park. And on the other ones, they did a good job, where it's more depending on luck once again." So, when you come into these large enterprise companies, and you say, " Listen, here's success, success, success, success. Look at all these products, they've all been up reaching this point. Here's the process." It's not like us just saying, " We're going to put a really smart person on it, they're going to think of something really creative one day to bring it back. They're going to wow everybody." No, it's a process of step one, step two, step three, step four. And by the end of that process, you're nearly guaranteed a successful outcome. That speaks very well to an enterprise company. It's like, " Okay, cool. We just have to trust the process." crosstalk.
Eric Boduch: Isn't that a big claim though that nearly guaranteed success? I mean, that's a big claim.
Chris Stegner: For sure. It completely is. So, I'll say we'll just let our track record speak for us and then on the other front, I'll say that it's still work in progress.
Eric Boduch: So what, tell me about this process. What makes it so amazing?
Chris Stegner: I mean, honestly, it's, so if I were to take a step back on it, right? When we as a group and I myself, personally, kind of plagued myself with this question of how do we scale? And how do we reproduce consistently, products that are extremely innovative and executed at very high level. Then I looked back at kind of every product, not that we've created, but products in the world that really hit another level of this, companies that hit another level of this, leaders that hit another level of this and looked for commonalities between them. And one of the huge commonalities that we found was that when you had either a founder or somebody of very high level with a lot of influence and clout inside of the company that had a background in kind of all of the different disciplines required to create their product, so you have one kind of key person like the go- to. The go- to example, Steve Jobs, right? Apple, they're doing fairly well for themselves. They've created some good products, right? So, when you look at that, " Okay, well, from the beginning of the company, you have somebody like Steve Jobs, who understood design." That's something that's been talked about a lot. He understood engineering, maybe not as good as his partner, but he understood engineering from the get- go. He understood marketing. He understood business. He understood all these different things and you had that one person as a key person in the middle, so that as the engineers were saying, " This can't be done, because of these things." He could say, " Well, they can be done. I know that." And as a designer just saying, " It has to be designed this way, because you can't do this thing." He could say, " Well, the design can change this way." And you have this person in the middle, that could say, kind of negotiate all these things with the knowhow of all them, then from there, he could bring it together and get all those teams, working in a way that produced something better than anything that come before it. The problem is you can't scale Steve Jobs, right? You can't just like say, " Oh, just find another Steve Jobs out there." Somebody that knows all of these different disciplines really well and can kind of be the middleman between all the groups to negotiate and say, " This is what we're going to end up producing and it's going to be awesome." So, the next question became, and just too, I want to make sure it's not just Steve Jobs. I mean, there's every major innovation in every industry, if you look back to it, there was a person like this. The household speaker design that's used and every speaker known to man. If you look back, a person that's a designer, engineer, marketer, et cetera. It's every single industry has this kind of person when huge innovation happened. So then the question became, " Okay, we can't scale that person, maybe we just hire more people like that and plus, those people all want to be CEOs anyways. So, how do we recreate that?" And it just became more and more effort around cross functional collaboration and I think that's really at the center of it. When you get all the different disciplines working together as opposed to against each other. And that might sound simple, but it's, it can be very difficult to get. Usually, you can have your engineering team saying, " No, no, no. This has to be done this way because it's easier to engineer it that way." And the design team is saying, " No, no, no. It has to be done this way because it looks prettier." It's hard to get them to come together and say, " I empathize with you. I see your standpoint on this. Let's work together to figure out the best solution for that, that makes both of us cringe a little bit, that makes both of us happy a little bit." And that's where that that spot is you need to find, so we started looking for anything and everything we could across the organization to allow that to happen. So, it's simple things like Google Ventures created the Design Sprint. It's totally different than Development Sprint or Agile, anything like that, but there's a book on it called Sprint. And the idea of Sprint is, " Here's a five- day process to solve basically any problem in the world." And Google Ventures does this with everything that they've invested in. And from there, it's, " Hey, let's all look at what the problems are. Let's all empathize with each other. It's all here." Each person has a different standpoint on it. Then on the next day, let's rapidly prototype ideas that can solve it. But when we rapidly prototype these, each individual does it on their own. The idea is, they should be coming up with eight different ideas that really push innovation to its max and go way past a standard one or two solutions that they come up with it. And then from there, everybody comes back to vote on these ideas. And you're voting on the independent little features as well as the overall ideas, so that by the end of the fifth day, you end up with something that everybody feels is their idea. It's like the whole group's idea. It's like they said, " Okay, well, we'll settle with you in doing it your way." No, it's everybody's idea. Not only that, but it's innovative. It's something that's never been done before. And everybody's roped in behind it, and it's got the best needs from every person, and it solves the biggest problems each person. So, we've got about 100 things like a Sprint like that, that really push our teams to collaborate in that way. And through that, also parts of business are being put in there like, " How is this going to end up helping them get their next round of funding? How is this going to help them get their next 2000 people?" And all those things are interacting together as a product cross functional team. And it's been working really well. We started three years ago. We won the Webby Award for technical achievement. We won the UX Design Award Product of the Year. We won Digit Days Innovation of the Year. We've won the slew of W3 Awards and everything else. Plus, we've got startups to start with one person and 100 grand in funding. NAB billion dollar valuations are raised over 100 million in funding. We've clients who had gone public. It's been pretty cool. Sorry, I could rant about this for hours.
Eric Boduch: Yeah, I mean, it's awesome. You definitely have a history of winning awards and coming up with some innovative products. Wow, we're kind of getting towards the end of the podcast. So, time just go by fast. Let's talk a little bit about trends you see. What do you see in the product world that's exciting to you?
Chris Stegner: Yeah, I mean, I feel like I've been saying this for years, but to me, the biggest trends are the old trends, it's like just do things better. So, let me put that in a little bit more direct terms for you. So, I would say, still, when you're creating a product, think of less features and executing each one of those features at a higher level, making sure they're extremely well- polished. Also, I'd say for me, and things that we're seeing succeed, innovation is always a trend, so think about solving problems in a way that is different than just taking the best that you've seen every other person do and combining it. Just try to really push things and find a new level. But I saw Bezos said something at a certain point that I said, he wrapped up what I've been trying to say so perfectly. And he goes, " People ask me what the next big thing is at Amazon, what the next technology is going to be, et cetera." And he's like, " It's not about what the next big technology is. It's about doing the things that always people have always wanted extremely well. Get them better products. Help them find them easier. Get them shipped to them faster. Make them cost less." Rather than focusing on what does Blockchain look like for Amazon, instead, " How do we get things to people faster? How do we make things cost them less money? How do we make sure they get the right product?" And I couldn't agree more. I think always go back and focus on the things that will always be problems, the things that people have always wanted versus kind of looking at what the new cool thing is going to be. And generally, I think, you'll find more success doing that.
Eric Boduch: That's awesome. Well, two final questions, what's your favorite product?
Chris Stegner: My favorite product is any product that chooses simplicity over complication. And I don't have one off the top my head, but I've got two examples sitting in front of me. To my side, I've got my coffee cup and I'm doing this for the podcast. I got my coffee cup that is a Yeti cup. And if you look at the lid on the Yeti, it's got the little slide on it that you can open and close it. And that's been done a million times before, but if you pop off the top, the little slider, it's just got a magnet inside of it. And if you look at the top of the coffee cup, it's got two magnets. It's got the open magnet and the closed magnet. It just pops back and forth between the two. There's nothing mechanical, there's nothing moving, there's nothing to break. You can easily clean it. If this thing were to ever break, somehow you just grab another one and magnets right back on. So I think something like that, somebody thought about it in a different way and ended up coming up with an innovative solution that's way simpler than the other ones which have sliding mechanisms and all those stuff, so, I love stuff like that. And then I love anytime people just say, " How do we get smarter and push something to make it better and better?" An example that would be my Apple AirPods. These things are amazing, but the fact that the AirPods not only do a great job and the sound denting on them is incredible and the noise reduction is incredible. But the fact that when I put them back in the case, the case then charges the earbuds for me. Things like that where they just thought about a step further, like, " Hey, we have to store these things in a case. Why can't the case charge them, so that you get more battery life out of them?" It's just ask those questions of, " How could this be better? How could this be better?" So, I could name a thousand products like that.
Eric Boduch: Awesome. Final question, three words to describe yourself.
Chris Stegner: I get incredibly obsessive over anything. And definitely, I'd say innovation is rooted in rebelliousness, so I'd say that's a big one. And then I'm a massive admirer of any time people come close to touching perfection. So, I'd say, " What is that?" It's like obsessive, rebellious, and an admirer.
Eric Boduch: That's awesome. Thanks, Chris. This has been great.
Chris Stegner: Awesome. Thank you. Have a great one, man.