Brian Rhea Brian Rhea

Bright & Early

A podcast for people building early-stage startups, hosted by me, Brian Rhea.

I talk to entrepreneurs, product people, designers, and marketing pros to learn what works, what doesn't, and why; giving you at least one thing to apply to your business first thing tomorrow.

Some of the incredible guests I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with and learning from on the show.


Episode 1
UI Design for Early-stage Startups with Jane Portman Today I'm speaking with Jane Portman. Jane is a UI/UX consultant in web application design, host of the very popular UI Breakfast Podcast, and co-founder of Userlist, a behavior-based email automation tool for Saas companies. We tackle a couple of interesting topics around UI design for early-stage startups. How good is "good enough" for launch? Can you get value from an off-the-shelf UI kit? And what can Gall's Law teach you about designing an MVP ... or better yet, a Minimum Loveable Product?
Episode 2
Knowing Your Customer with Claire Suellentrop Claire shares her insights on how you can create more effective marketing campaigns, design better products, and increase revenue by spending more time getting to know your customers. Claire is a SaaS marketing and growth advisor, loves helping teams get out of the "echo chamber" and inside their best customers' heads.
Episode 3
Growth Marketing with Margaret Kelsey Today I'm talking to Margaret Kelsey about Content Marketing in the early stages of your startup. Margaret heads up the Brand and Content team at Appcues where she helped to triple blog traffic in 9 months. She has also worked for InVision in Content Marketing and Community Management.
Episode 4
Email Marketing & Course Design with Janelle Allen Janelle and I talk about her killer email marketing process, improving your copy by knowing your customers, and the importance of setting a good hook.
Episode 5
Positioning Your Company for Growth with Georgiana Laudi Georgiana Laudi is a SaaS marketing and growth advisor. She has a long career in marketing but in 2009, switched her focus entirely to SaaS, working with companies like Unbounce, Appcues and Sprout Social. In addition to working with founders and marketers 1:1, she, along with Claire Suellentrop, also co-hosts Forget The Funnel, a series of workshops for marketers in SaaS.
Episode 6
Building Your Brand with Kelly Miller “How do I make people care about my company?” "How should I be thinking about brand and branding from day 1?" "Are there any companies or founders who you think are doing this really well?" "How do you advise us to emulate the good examples without copying and being unauthentic?"
Episode 7
Writing Better Onboarding Emails with Val Geisler Val is the good kind of email marketer :) She helps companies write emails that people actually want to read and respond to. If email onboarding is an important part of your business, you don't want to miss this episode.
Episode 8
Innovation and Ethical Design with Andrea Hill Andrea is a UX Researcher and Product Strategist. She has lead Innovation efforts at companies like LexisNexis, ReadyTalk, and through her own consultancy, Frameplay. Next up for her is a fellowship with Code for Canada, where she’ll be embedded within a division of the government of Canada for 10 months.
Episode 9
Getting Your First 100 Customers with Asia Matos Join me as I chat with fellow art-major-turned-technologist Asia Matos about how the Empathy Gap and how to dig into your SaaS product to find ways to close the gap and get your first 100 customers.
Episode 10
Converting More Customers with Better Onboarding with Alli Blum Alli is an expert in copywriting and onboarding optimization for SaaS products. She helps her clients understand why some users bail on their trial and others upgrade. If you’re struggling with high churn or low activation rates, Alli has some wisdom you’ll want to hear.
Episode 11
Launching a Product by Scratching Your Own Itch with Laura Elizabeth Laura is an entrepreneur and designer. She’s the founder of Client Portal, a product that helps creative agencies manage the client onboarding process. She also runs which helps developers conquer their fear of design.
Episode 12
Finding a Business Model that Works for You with Marie Poulin & Ben Borowski Marie Poulin and Ben Borowski are the creative force behind the digital services agency, Oki Doki. They are also the creators of Doki, a product that allows creators to offer courses, training, and mentoring programs online.
Episode 13
Transitioning from Services to SaaS with Laura Roeder of MeetEdgar Laura Roeder is the founder and CEO of MeetEdgar, a social media automation tool she launched in 2014 to help marketers share their best evergreen content. Today we’re going to chat about her journey from consulting to leading a team of 15 and lessons learned along the way.
Episode 14
Using Punchier Copywriting to Increase Conversion Rates with Lianna Patch Lianna helps SaaS businesses write funny, personality-filled copy at and She has written for Freshbooks, Manly Bands, GhostBed, and The Contract Shop, among others, and she’s here to share her approach with us today.
Episode 15
Wildbit's Rebellious Pragmatism with CEO & Co-founder Natalie Nagele Natalie is the co-founder and CEO of Wildbit, the 18-year old bootstrapped software company behind Beanstalk, Postmark, and Conveyor. With 30 employees, 100,000+ customers, and millions in revenue, Natalie’s focus at the company is on culture and team happiness.
Episode 16
Alternative Fundraising Options for Bootstrappers with Tyler Tringas Tyler is the founder and General Partner at Earnest Capital, where he makes seed-stage investments in bootstrappers, indie hackers, makers, and real businesses.
Episode 17
Creating a Memorable Product with Jack McDade of Statamic Jack is the designer, developer, and creator of Statamic. A Laravel-based CMS that makes creating and maintaining a website fun again. He also writes a fantastic newsletter for rebels and dreamers at
Episode 18
The Mom Test with Rob Fitzpatrick Rob is the author of The Mom Test - How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you. He and I talk about common mistakes people make when conducting customers interviews and how to avoid them.
Episode 19
Shape Up with Ryan Singer of Basecamp Ryan is Head of Product Strategy at Basecamp where he has designed features used by millions and invented processes used by their team to design, develop and ship the right things. He shares many of those processes in his new book, “Shape Up”.
Episode 20
Building EnjoyHQ with Sofia Quintero Sofia and I chat about the origins of EnjoyHQ and the challenges she's overcome along the way.
Episode 21
Mindframing for Entrepreneurs with Anne-Laure Le Cunff Anne-Laure is a founder, writer, and speaker. She studies neuroscience at King’s College London and also spends her time building products and writing about wellness, creativity, and culture at Ness Labs.
Episode 22
Growing Geocodio with Michele Hansen Michele is the co-founder of Geocodio, a bootstrapped SaaS that offers hassle-free geocoding for thousands of customers including the Associated Press, Amazon, Expedia, and more. We talk about their approach to delivering a great customer experience even when your product is an API.
Episode 23
Obviously Awesome: How to Position Your Product with April Dunford My guest this week is April Dunford. April is the author of "Obviously Awesome". She’s a positioning consultant, entrepreneur, board member, angel investor, and advisor. April was an executive at 7 successful tech startups and 3 global tech giants where she launched 16 products along the way.
Episode 24
Endcrawl's Unconventional Approach with Pliny I'm joined by the cofounder of Endcrawl, John "Pliny" Eremic. We talk about the unconventional approaches they've taken to bootstrapping their niche business, which automates end credits for TV and film producers.
Episode 25
Building for a Picky Niche with Ben Orenstein of Tuple Ben is the co-founder of Tuple, a remote pair programming tool for developers. He is also the cohost of the Art of Product Podcast.
Episode Bonus
Applying JTBD to Make Products Customers Love – with Brian Rhea

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