The First 100 | How Founders Acquired their First 100 Customers | Product-Market Fit

[Bootstrapped] Ep.42 - The First 100 with Samy Dindane, the Founder of Hypefury

February 27, 2023 Samy Dindane Season 2 Episode 9
The First 100 | How Founders Acquired their First 100 Customers | Product-Market Fit
[Bootstrapped] Ep.42 - The First 100 with Samy Dindane, the Founder of Hypefury
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, I chat with Samy Dindane, the Founder of Hypefury, a scheduling and automation platform for Twitter and now Linkedin.

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Speaker 0    00:00:01    Let's do it. Let's do it. Broadcasting from around the world, you are listening to the first 100, a podcast on how founders acquired their first 100 paying customers. Here's your host, ha Radwan.  
Speaker 2    00:00:21    Good to have you on the show, Sammy. How are you doing today?  
Speaker 3    00:00:24    Great, thanks for having me.  
Speaker 2    00:00:25    Let me start with a quick introduction for our listener. Sammy Dinan is the founder of Hype Fury, a scheduling and automation platform for Twitter and now LinkedIn. Sammy, take us back to the founding aha moment. How did you come up with this idea?  
Speaker 3    00:00:42    So the idea of the origin was, there were two reasons. One was that I wanted to try New Tech and learn new tech, and the second one was that I had like a side hustle on Twitter where I used to do fitness and nutrition coaching. So I was very active on Twitter and I wanted to, uh, post threads on Twitter, but there were no tools back then to scale threads. There were many tools to schedule like typical tweets but not threads. So these two reasons combined, I built like, uh, a small tool like in three days that allows you to type some tweets into a thread and schedule them onto on Twitter. And since I had a a side hustle, I had like a small network of people that were also Twitter users and we were in a group chat and I shared the link with them. I told them to try it. So yeah, they started giving me suggestions at this, at that changed this, change that, and that's how sure happens.  
Speaker 2    00:01:45    That's great. Thank you for sharing this. So you actually built something that someone needs basically a pain point for your customer. Were you in any form of way thinking about a framework on how to decide if this is an investible business or a business that can make you money in the future?  
Speaker 3    00:02:05    After I had like a few people using it. So when I, it's not even a lunch, you know, when I started sharing it with people, there were a few people using it, and that's when I was like, okay, so I made this toy project, which initially has no use and had no, like, I had no ambitions with, you know, I just wanted to do it for the sake of it, but there are people using it every day and is it worth it, you know, pursuing this. It's at that point that I started to see a need, you know, I started to see that there are so many tools in the market that are similar, but they don't do what my tool did and I wasn't going to do exactly what they do. You know, I started saying that there is a tool for everyone, you know, even if it, they're all kind of, you know, they have the same foundation, but every tool can be unique in its way, and it can work for some people and not work for other, for others. And that's when I decided like that this idea, you know, it's worth putting more time and energy and effort in.  
Speaker 2    00:03:15    Amazing, amazing. So I, I'm pretty sure you've seen a lot of retweets. So this is a question outside the context of the podcast, but what is the perfect anatomy of a successful retweet  
Speaker 3    00:03:28    <laugh>? There isn't <laugh>. I mean, you can, you can, you know, you can try to find like a template. There are some templates. There are some guidelines, but even if you find a formula and you get tweets that work well, it doesn't matter in the long term because usually when you build a business online, you want something for the long term. You know, you want a strategy that works for a year, five years, you know, and it doesn't matter that one of your tweets does better than the other. What matters is the, your consistency, I think everyone knows that, but not everyone does it. But consistency is what's really needed to build like a successful brand online.  
Speaker 2    00:04:13    Smart advice. Let's dive into your first paying hundred customers, which is the name of the show. How fast did it take you to get 200?  
Speaker 3    00:04:22    I don't remember exactly. I would say six months, surely less than a year. I don't have a number in mind, but the thing is, when I saw, I'm gonna go on a freestyle here, but when I built the tool, I had it in private beta, that was probably a mistake. I should have launched it straight away publicly, you know, but I wasn't 100% sure I was handpicking people who tried it and gathering feedback and building open that feedback until I had something decent to release. So I started in August, in December, I released it publicly to everyone, and when I released it publicly, it had already like the payment system. So one of the reasons I didn't release it earlier is because I didn't build the payment system and I was more focused into building like, uh, you know, the tool than building the billing.  
Speaker 3    00:05:15    But when I put the billing, I released it publicly in December, and I think like in the very first hours or days I had, I don't know, maybe 10 or 20 paying people, you know, may Pro 10 for sure. So these people who use it in the bid and so like use, they subscribed and then it gets, doesn't get easier, but you know, once you get your first to 10, you can build through that with word of mouth. Pretty much the early days were word of mouth. Does that answer your question? I mean, we can, we can dive deeper if you want. Like, uh, sure,  
Speaker 2    00:05:53    Yeah. We'll, we'll, so I, I'm very interested to know how, what chance, let's say word 12 for you. What strategies, what tactics were 12 for you to acquire your first a hundred crane customers?  
Speaker 3    00:06:03    One specific thing I did is that when I was building it in private beta, I outreached to many people on Twitter, you know, some big guys on Twitter, I gave a demo, I gathered their feedback, and in the end of each call I asked them not to recommend, but only put me in touch with a friend of theirs who could use the tool, you know, so I did that with every person and they put us in touch than I got. Like I got more people giving demos, and then I built a bit of hype, you know, in that close beta period, you know, started sharing gifts and videos of the tools, screenshots, how it worked, that hype built the first users. So I think like the first 100 were pretty much word of mouth, Twitter, you know, we were a Twitter tool on Twitter, so it was easier to do. But yeah, it was doing the things that don't scale, basically the fir early days, really doing, doing the things that don't scale, speaking to people, give them demos, dms, et cetera.  
Speaker 2    00:07:09    How did that change now that you have a big user base?  
Speaker 3    00:07:15    Well, it changes because you can't be doing the things that don't scale forever. So like I said, I start in August, released in December, but in December I was looking at the whole situation and I was like, okay, I'm working 16 hours a day, I'm doing like building new features, um, fixing bugs. I'm speaking to users. I started having paying customers, I was started having proper customer reque, you know, customer support requests. And I was like, okay, I can do this alone. You know, if I want to scale this product, I'm gonna have to build a team. So I started looking for a partner, basically, you know, for a co-founder, a marketing co-founder, so I could focus on the technical part. And he focuses on the marketing, on the growth hacking, e, c, whatever. And also with the first $1,500 we started making per month, we hired a person to manage customer support.  
Speaker 3    00:08:16    Yeah. And well, after my co-founder joined, he did the things that scare. So pretty much affiliate, uh, marketing, you know, just ACO blogs. We have a very strong blog right now, very strong website. You know, I have people deeming us to have them featured on there or put their link on on it. And that's typically the thing that takes a long time to give results. But once it does, it's really powerful. You know, you build a blog, you do proper issue for six months, you have nothing, it doesn't give you any returns. But once it starts like building, then you get like a lot of people, people trying your software from it.  
Speaker 2    00:08:57    That's very helpful. I can see that you've changed multiple times your pricing on, on the screen. How do you determine pricing and how did you decide? Do I go a freemium model, which you have a free tier and then two paint tiers? Or do I just go with the two paid tiers? What triggered this decision making process?  
Speaker 3    00:09:16    So pricing, there is no secret. You know, there is no formula. It's pricing is all about intuition. So you gotta look at your product, look at the value you bring, look at your competitors. You, you probably don't want to be the cheapest one. You don't want to be the most expensive one. You can't charge too much compared to a tool that does more. So there are all these variables that you need to take into consideration, and it's gonna be intuition. And the good thing about pricing is that you can change it later. You're gonna piss off probably some users, but in the end it's probably worth it. So I think our first pricing was $14 a month for the standard plan. And I'm not sure we had the premium plan back there. Probably did. It was maybe 30 or $40 a month. So yeah, it was something like that.  
Speaker 3    00:10:13    But standard plan was $15, 14 point 99. So it was pretty safe. I could increase it later. It wasn't very expensive, you know, for whomever is using Twitter to do business, to sell stuff, $14 is not much buffer. Back then was, uh, I think $20 or $14. The price wasn't extremely expensive. It wasn't extremely cheap. It was reasonable. You know, it's, again, it's all about intuition. Just saying, okay, I'm a user. I wanna buy my tool, I wanna buy the tool, I wanna pay for the tool. Does it make sense? You know, you don't wanna price it like, I don't know, $100 a month because nobody would buy it, and you don't wanna price it $5 a month because it'll even make sense financially. You know, you would need like a crazy amount of people to even pay your, uh, or, or you know, your service or whatever. Yeah. Sorry, what was the other question? Like,  
Speaker 2    00:11:09    How did you come to the decision to do a premium model versus just the payment model?  
Speaker 3    00:11:15    Uh, yeah, premium model was more like, let's say, competitive tactical decision really. And we, yeah, pretty much that. We had other tools popping all around, basically copies, you know, the, some tools literally copied like our pages, our landing page, the names we give to our features and everything. They were very cheap. So like, Hey, you wanna do it for cheap? Okay, we'll do it for free. Here's hyper for free. Uh, it was something like, uh, two days of scheduling for free. You got like, uh, templates to give you inspiration to quite more tweets. The framing model was made so that the people who really didn't make any money on Twitter could use High Fury, but once they started making money, they could easily upgrade. So all the features were there, but they were behind like a wall. Paywall. Paywall, yeah. So for example, I don't know, you click on something and it has a lock, literally it has a lock icon on it, and when you click it says, Hey, this is like a paid feature, do you wanna upgrade?  
Speaker 3    00:12:25    And then you say yes, and then you type in your bank card, then boom, you have access to it straight away. And we do the same thing between the standard and the premium plan. You know, we say, I don't know, I have a standard plan. I go to my analytics page, which is like a premium feature. I can go there, I can see a sample of what it looks like. And this is even easier because you can say, Hey, do you wanna upgrade? And they say yes. And then boom, they upgrade because you already have their, uh, credit card information, everything. So it takes, I don't know, five seconds, not even five seconds for them to get charged and to have like, access to new features. That's a tip that everyone can use to maybe convert more and have more upgrades.  
Speaker 2    00:13:06    Amazing. What did you learn from your first hundred paying customers? Things that you could have avoided but didn't know about them?  
Speaker 3    00:13:14    Wow, that's a tough question. That's a very broad question. Uh, I don't know, man. Like, no specific learnings per se. I mean, they're probably things that you can have seen before. Like we say, hindsight is always 2020. So small matter of, uh, doing the things that make sense to you, you know, using, again, your intuition, using like feedback from your users and trying something, and then monitoring, you know, what you're doing, watching it and being able to change quickly to do things quickly, you know, and the thing is that even after 100, 1000 users, you still are in the situations where sometimes you could have done things better and you, you wouldn't have known beforehand, you know? But we learned, we learned many things, you know, about how people react to pricing changes, how people react to like actual product changes. You know, sometimes you change the feature and you're like, no way somebody's gonna disagree about this change.  
Speaker 3    00:14:20    And then you realize that actually a lot of your users use it. And they're so used to the way it works because it's like lifestyle products. People use our tool pretty much every day to do their social media, you know, so they're so used to it. And then when you change something, when you move a button, there are so many people, like, nobody's asked for that, you know, what the hell are you doing? This is the kind of stuff that you learn along the way. But in the end, it's not like, uh, it's not in the end of the world. It's just like part of the process. The thing thing is the way I started the project, and I'm still the one project that for me, I have fun in trying new things, you know, experiencing new things and learning new things. So I don't stress much about like all the small details. The, the software is there, it's working, it's proven. People are paying for it. If you get like small bad feedback or small issues, it's not the end of the word. It's usually things that you can correct.  
Speaker 2    00:15:17    Perfect. One last question. What's next for Hype Fury?  
Speaker 3    00:15:20    What's next for Hype Fury? So since the start, we've been like Twitter tool. Now we're doing a lot of LinkedIn, you know, pretty much what we learned on Twitter, we're do it on LinkedIn. One of the earliest like serious calls I had with my partner Yani, was where do we see hii in like 10 years or 20 years? And the answer was, we want to help 1 million people build their presence. And so, and online business. So we still have that goal, you know, 1 million maybe won't never make 1 million, but still we're aiming for that 1 million. And we want to give like all the resources somebody needs, you know, in terms of teaching, in terms of guides, in terms of, uh, between brackets, classes, what you need to do, how to write your tweets, how to write your post, how to grow your social media followings.  
Speaker 3    00:16:12    So the scrolling parts and the supporting more social media platforms. We already do Instagram, Facebook, but we want to go deeper into Instagram. We want to help, you know, run online sales, do outreach, create lists of customers that you can retarget later. So yeah, I, I know my reply is pretty broad, but it's gonna be teaching more platforms and more automations that make sense. You know, not just adding platforms for the sake of adding more platforms, but really having like one tool that can do everything a creator needs to manage to build, to sell more, to make more money and be more free. Because in the end, like what we all want to do is be more free, you know, build an online business and have more freedom in your real life.  
Speaker 2    00:17:04    Amazing. Sammy, how can people reach  
Speaker 3    00:17:06    Twitter? Sammy Dindane or HypeFury. Thank  
Speaker 2    00:17:10    You for being part. Alright, thank you very much, uh, Sammy, for being part of our show. We wish you the best of luck going.  
Speaker 3    00:17:17    Thanks for having me.  
Speaker 0    00:17:19    Thank you so much for listening to the first 100. We hope it inspired you in your journey. If you're enjoying the podcast, please subscribe to our podcast on Apple, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or Spotify, and share it with a friend starting their entrepreneurship journey. Leave us a five star review. Your support will help spread our podcast to more viewers.